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IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT

Hilarious, irresistible, and oh so timely.

Caitlin Mary Prudence Rectitude Singleberry leads a wholesome, home-schooled life in Parsippany, New Jersey, and enjoys performing with her family (the Singing Singleberries) while waiting to hear from the 12 colleges she’s applied to, so what is she doing in jail with her nose pierced, neon hair, and a tattoo?

Caitlin blames her cousin Heller Harrigan, who, unlike Caitlin, wasn’t raised in a happy, two-parent Christian family but by a ditzy single mother who’s changed her name from Nancy to Ecstasy. Until five years ago, the girls were best friends. Caitlin hasn’t seen Heller since, after achieving TV stardom in her tweens, Heller landed the coveted role of Lynnea in four film adaptations of the blockbuster bestselling Angel Wars trilogy. Celebrity pressures have taken a toll on Heller, just back from four months of rehab. Caitlin, who subdues her crippling anxiety and panic attacks with silent rituals, agrees to keep Heller out of trouble during the movie’s premiere weekend in New York and the day Heller’s going to spend with a young cancer patient. While reforming Heller, Caitlin intends to settle a few scores. What ensues is a culture clash on steroids. Rudnick’s affection for his flawed characters lends emotional depth to the skillful satire. Targets skewered include the symbiotic culture of narcissism binding celebrities and their fans, teen literary clichés, and Brooklyn.

Hilarious, irresistible, and oh so timely. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-46428-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

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

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IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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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