An earnest, relatable, and affecting celebration of teenage yearning.

In this work adapted from the popular artist’s own high school diaries, lonely Phoebe joins a play and finds friendship and first love.

It is 2006 in Bellingham, Washington, and 15-year-old Phoebe is in love with three different boys. She is chubby with an “elfin pig nose,” obsessed with vintage fashion and indie rock, and desperately wants skinny jeans and a boyfriend. After spending freshman year on the sidelines (she’s a home-schooler taking “only the fun classes” at her local high school), Phoebe works up the courage to audition for the summer play. From there, her life opens up. There is a rainy ride home with Owen, rehearsals with David, and kisses on the cheek from unattainable Lukas (part of the script but still thrilling). As summer wanes, her crushes fade. There’s always another production, though, and when Phoebe makes the cast of the fall play, she finds herself dreaming about smart, serious “sex god” Sam and his chiseled jaw. Phoebe’s crushes dominate the narrative, but watching her friendships develop during gossipy sleepovers, cozy snowy days, and rowdy Passover seders is no less meaningful. The story, illustrated throughout, captures the anguish of wanting to belong, to feel at home in your body, and to give and receive pleasure. Wahl’s distinctive, instantly recognizable art adds humor and heart to each page. Most characters appear white; Phoebe and Sam are Jewish.

An earnest, relatable, and affecting celebration of teenage yearning. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9780316363563

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023


Readers will devour this swoonworthy romance in one sitting.

Two talented chess players challenge each other on and off the board in bestselling author Hazelwood’s YA debut.

Eighteen-year-old Mallory Greenleaf is no longer interested in chess, not since her hypercompetitive dad left—the game calls up painful memories. But she grudgingly agrees to play in a charity tournament as a favor to best friend Easton Peña. After she unexpectedly beats current world champion Nolan Sawyer, she’s offered a fellowship that will prepare her to play professionally. Even though Mallory doesn’t want to play anymore, she needs the money that winning would provide; she’s delayed college to support her family, since her mother is chronically ill with rheumatoid arthritis and is unable to work regularly. The more time she spends with Nolan, the more Mallory comes to like and respect him—and the more time she spends playing chess, the more she remembers how much she loved it. But when she learns that Nolan has been keeping a big secret from her, she isn’t sure if she’ll be able to move past it to build a relationship with him. Filled with the author’s signature humor, well-developed characters, and realistic conflicts, plus the fully realized setting of competitive chess, this captivating romance will delight teen readers as well as Hazelwood’s adult fans. Mallory and Nolan are both cued white; there is some racial diversity among the supporting cast. Mallory and Easton are queer.

Readers will devour this swoonworthy romance in one sitting. (author’s note) (Romance. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780593619919

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023


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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