A delightful and humorous debut.

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. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018


A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024


There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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