A delightful and humorous debut.

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MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE

A fresh, madcap rom-com in which a Princeton, New Jersey, high school senior, aspiring film school student, and Bollywood junkie navigates the dramas of real life.

Vaneeta “Winnie” Mehta is digging a grave for her ex-boyfriend Raj’s entire film collection. She’d believed that Raj was destined to be with her; their match was fated in her janampatri (natal star chart) after all, so she was devastated to find out via social media that he was hooking up with another classmate. To add insult to injury, she’s stripped of her role as school film festival chair because of an administrative snafu, and Raj has secured Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha—Winnie’s idol—as the festival’s guest of honor. But when Winnie reconnects with classmate and fellow film geek Dev Khanna and falls for him hard, she is forced to question all that has been prophesied: Is Raj really her destiny, and if she chooses Dev, will she be giving up her chance to live happily ever after? With the help of family and friends, Winnie navigates these ups and downs in order to find her own perfectly scripted Bollywood ending. Bollywood fans will appreciate the high-drama tropes and self-referential jokes, and newcomers will be tempted to explore the genre for themselves

A delightful and humorous debut. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-52325-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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