Readers who find “dumbslut” endearing will likely enjoy the crazed teenager angst, but the rest may find themselves...


Over the course of two days in a desert California town, a high school graduation celebration challenges friendships and introduces post-graduation realities.

Victoria “Vic” Navarro (white, Filipino, and generic “Native American”) is throwing one final fete for her graduating class at Happies, the legendary local restaurant that has popularized Rancho Soldado but is now closing. With her two best friends, Genesis “Fletch” Fletcher (adopted from “Africa” by an interracial couple) and Mercedes “Slick” Zavala-Kim (mixed-race, Mexican/Korean), Vic has secured permission from Happies’ owner to orchestrate a final hurrah, distracted Rancho Soldado’s most villainous teacher Annette Thrope (called “Miss Ann Thrope” by her students), and landed her crush’s assistance for the night. In Vic’s account, alcohol flows, music plays, and pot brownies are consumed, while lustful teenagers tuck themselves in all corners of the property. After a large band of geriatric Happies fanatics crashes the festivities, the growing crowd morphs from a discreet rager into a grander, final tribute. Girls repeatedly refer to themselves as dumbsluts or bitches, and somehow these teens are well-versed in dated pop-culture references. In Cohn fashion, characters strike varying chords of teen attitude from idealistic to cynical, naïve to sophisticated. The diversity is pleasing to see, but it is skin deep—there is no plumbing of cultural nuance.

Readers who find “dumbslut” endearing will likely enjoy the crazed teenager angst, but the rest may find themselves wondering why they should care about these hormone-charged characters. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5722-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.


After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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