A largely sensitive treatment of an emotionally complex topic.

SOME BOYS

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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Will appeal to fans of fast-moving fantasy adventures.

CAST IN FIRELIGHT

From the Wickery series , Vol. 1

Pledged to each other since childhood, Adraa and Jatin navigate the complex politics of their respective kingdoms.

Adraa is the heir to Belwar, and while powerful in most types of magic, she has yet to take the royal ceremony to prove her competency in all nine forms and, with it, her right to someday rule. With half its population Untouched by the Gods—unable to use magic—Belwar struggles with inequities between the Touched and Untouched, reminiscent of societal class divisions. Adraa’s strong sense of duty to her people leads her to fight against the corruption within her kingdom. Jatin, heir to their more magical neighbor Naupure, has spent years polishing his nine colors of magic at the academy, away from the realities of ruling. He and Adraa compare their magical prowess and progress through letters. When Jatin finally leaves the academy, a series of mishaps results in both of them hiding their true identities even as they grow closer in their fight against a ruthless gang. This intricate world with magic-fueled, action-packed fight scenes and snarky, colloquial banter is loosely infused with Asian Indian cultural references. The story also discusses questions of gender inequality, freedom, self-worth, and identity. Adraa and Jatin both have black hair; in contrast to the cover image, the text makes clear that Adraa is very dark-skinned while Jatin has lighter brown skin.

Will appeal to fans of fast-moving fantasy adventures. (deities and their powers, author’s note) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12421-5

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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More a story about falling in love with yourself than with a romantic interest, this novel will resonate with all readers...

HOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE

Love blooms between two teens—a white girl who refuses to be judged and a biracial boy who hides himself from judgment.

Libby Strout was once America's Fattest Teen, whose house had to be cut open to allow her to be taken to the hospital. After three years of weight loss and counseling, Libby's returning to school, where Jack Masselin is the big man on campus. Full of swagger and the life of the party, Jack has developed this persona to hide the truth about himself: he can't recognize faces due to a condition known as prosopagnosia—he doesn't even recognize himself except by his Afro. When Jack grabs Libby in a cruel “game” called Fat Girl Rodeo, she punches him in the mouth, and they both wind up in group counseling. Spending time together will inspire each of them to become stronger, and slowly a kind of friendship develops that turns into more. The narration alternates between the two, effectively getting readers into both kids’ heads. The discomfort and fear that Jack feels come through clearly, as he constantly rehearses the “identifiers” of everyone he knows in order to avoid embarrassing mistakes, as do Libby's particular anxieties: will she get stuck behind her desk? Will her peers ever see her for herself?

More a story about falling in love with yourself than with a romantic interest, this novel will resonate with all readers who’ve struggled to love themselves. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-75592-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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