Sometimes Charlotte now, sometimes Clare in 1918, borne back and forth by the boarding school cot. . . "are we so very alike? Were you some particular person only because people recognized you as that?" Then, on a day when Charlotte is Clare (and Clare is Charlotte), she and Clare's younger sister Emily, who knows, must move from the dormitory to lodgings and she must remain in the past. Which, in living with the stuffy Chisel-Browns, their fluttery spinster daughter Agnes and her memories of dead brother Arthur, becomes very much her world: playing with their spillikins and marbles, she might be Agnes indulging Arthur as she is Clare coping with cheeky Emily as she has been older sister to Emma at home. But, she learns from Agnes, Arthur was less than a hero and not unlike Charlotte: the pattern is broken. On Armistice night, literally bedlam, the girls go out alone; as punishment, they are recalled to the dormitory where Charlotte will be in a position to change places with Clare. She leaves with some regret, returns with some relief: schoolmate Margaret, the brilliant erratic one, has known the difference though she cannot define it. And they could not have been alter egos, older enigmatic Sarah Reynolds unwittingly discloses: Clare had died of flu at the war's end and Emily, Sarah's mother, had been waiting for Charlotte to arrive. As she now writes her, enclosing Agnes' and Arthur's playthings. This fills in for Charlotte the time spent by Emma in Winter (1966), which also embodies a time-spanning search-for-self. But Charlotte Sometimes is less involuted; less obsessed, less somber than either Emma or its predecessor The Summer Birds; girls can read it (without knowing the others) as a ghost story laced with boarding school fiendishness and healthy who-am-I's.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1969

ISBN: 978-1-68137-104-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1969

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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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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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