A largely sensitive treatment of an emotionally complex topic.


In an instructive and carefully drawn tale, Grace, who has been raped, develops a tentative relationship with Ian, a friend and teammate of her rapist.

Grace has been ostracized and taunted by classmates ever since she publicly accused a popular boy named Zac of raping her at a party. Ian is grounded after driving home from a different party drunk and running his dad’s car into a mailbox. Both Grace and Ian get in trouble with school authorities for angry outbursts, and both are assigned to clean lockers during school break. The two are drawn to each other, but mistrust and misunderstandings abound. Grace and Ian narrate alternating chapters, and questions commonly asked in the aftermath of rape are answered with details that feel true to the characters. For example, Grace wears leather boots, studded cuffs and short skirts as a reaction to her sweater-set–loving stepmother and also because the clothes make her feel tough. A scene in which Grace dons Muslim garb to protest the way girls are judged by their appearances and offends Khatiri, an Afghani classmate, feels out of step with the rest of the book, particularly when Khatiri later shows up to offer Grace support. Readers will find themselves rooting, however, both for the romance and for Grace’s and Ian’s growth.

A largely sensitive treatment of an emotionally complex topic. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4022-9856-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Sweet and idealistic.


From the Heartstopper series

In this novella addition to the Heartstopper graphic novel series, English teen boys Nick and Charlie face a new challenge—sustaining a long-distance relationship.

At the end of the summer, Nick will leave for university a couple of hundred miles north in Leeds. He can’t wait for independence and an escape from his hometown. As much as Charlie wants to support his boyfriend, every time Nick mentions his plans, Charlie sinks deeper into anxious thoughts about a whole year apart. All of Charlie’s followers on Tumblr say their breakup is inevitable, which doesn’t help. Determined not to make Nick feel bad about his insecurity, Charlie tries to distract both of them from the future and the upcoming changes. Chapters switch back and forth between Charlie’s and Nick’s perspectives. Each time Charlie swallows his anxiety and lies to Nick, he feels worse. The steady buildup of tension drives the story forward at a fast pace. Returning characters and references to past events from the comic series receive some introduction and explanation for new readers, but familiarity with the previous volumes or the live-action Netflix series provides beneficial context for characters’ relationships and the central conflict. Illustrations throughout capture romantic and emotional moments. Although presented in a different format from the rest of the series, this appealing addition strikes the same balance of engrossing drama and gentle love.

Sweet and idealistic. (cultural notes for American readers, character information and sketches) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 9781338885101

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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