Gripping; an emotion-packed must-read.

WATCH OVER ME

When she ages out of foster care, Mila takes an internship on a haunted farm outside Mendocino.

After being abandoned by her single mother, Mila was placed in foster care. The family she lives with now wants a baby and won’t adopt her, so Mila gets a farm internship after high school graduation. Mila is a quiet, beautifully written character; LaCour is a master at depicting loneliness. The farm is run by Terry and Julia, whose focus is on rebuilding the lives of youth impacted by foster care. Although the farm is in a remote rural area, Mila is determined to make it her new home. In addition to the seven foster children and two other interns, ghosts live there. The sense of place is strong, and readers will be transported to the rocky, coastal hills shrouded in fog and full of secrets. When mementos from her past begin to appear, Mila must decide if she is strong enough to remain at the farm. The pacing of the book is excellent; readers won’t get a full picture of the physical and emotional trauma Mila suffered until she herself is ready to process and confront it. Mila’s journey to reclaim herself and find independence is tense and powerful. Mila and Julia are White, Terry is Black, and the interns and children are ethnically diverse.

Gripping; an emotion-packed must-read. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10897-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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