Warm, funny and wise.

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ON THE ROAD TO FIND OUT

In a light and gently humorous romance, self-centered Alice learns to run, to cope with disappointment and to consider other people’s feelings.

Alice is heartsick after Yale rejects her Early Action application. However, as a family friend both wise and wisecracking points out in a heavy-handed but nonetheless insightful speech, her crushed feeling is less about Yale itself than about not having gotten her own way. Stubborn, snarky and sometimes glaringly un–self-aware, Alice has a smart retort for everything her mom, dad or family friend Walter tries to tell or offer her. She is kinder to Jenni, the best friend for whom Alice’s parents serve as a sort of surrogate family, but astute readers will notice the imbalances in the pair’s relationship long before Jenni herself points them out. What keeps readers engaged with Alice is her devotion to her beloved pet rat, a comical, curious and deeply lovable creature also named Walter, who inspires enthusiastic and endearing rat-related asides to readers. As Alice follows up on her hastily made New Year’s resolution to start running and meets the kind and driven head of a running shop as well as a down-to-earth and dreamy boy runner, her growth is palpable. Lessons—of the life-skills variety and the SAT-vocabulary variety—are many, but the vibrant characters and lively dialogue make them easy to digest.

Warm, funny and wise. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-30014-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom.

CHAIN OF GOLD

From the Last Hours series , Vol. 1

Clare’s (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 2019, etc.) latest is set in the Shadowhunter world in the 20th century’s first decade (with frequent flashbacks to the previous one).

Teenage offspring of the Herondales, Carstairs, Fairchilds, and other angel-descended Nephilim continue their families’ demon-fighting ways amid a round of elegant London balls, soirees, salons, picnics, and romantic intrigues. James Herondale, 17-year-old son of Will and Tessa, finds himself and his “perfectly lethal dimple” hung up between two stunning new arrivals: Cordelia Carstairs, red-haired Persian/British wielder of a fabled magic sword, and Grace Blackthorn, an emotionally damaged but (literally, as the author unsubtly telegraphs) spellbinding friend from childhood. Meanwhile, a sudden outbreak of demonic attacks that leave more and more Shadowhunters felled by a mysterious slow poison plunges James and a cohort of allies into frantic searches for both a cause and an antidote. Ichor-splashed encounters with ravening boojums and even one of hell’s own princes ensue—all leading to final hints of a devastating scheme to destroy the Nephilim in which James himself is slated to play a central role. Characters have a range of skin tones, but ethnic diversity adds no texture to the portrayals; there is a lesbian cousin who wears traditionally male clothing and two young gay men (one tortured, the other less so).

Busy, busy, busy…with portents of doom. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3187-3

Page Count: 624

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A lackluster take on a well-worn trope.

THE TWIN

After a family tragedy, 16-year-old Ivy Mason hopes to reconnect with her aloof identical twin sister, Iris—but Iris has other plans.

When Ivy’s parents divorced 10 years ago, Ivy stayed with her father while Iris went to live with their mother. When their mother dies after falling off a bridge while jogging, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their father. Narrator Ivy is reeling (she even goes to therapy), but Iris seems strangely detached, only coming to life when Ivy introduces her to her best friends, Haley and Sophie, and her quarterback boyfriend, Ty. However, Ivy isn’t thrilled when Iris wants to change her class schedule to match hers, and it’s not long before Iris befriends Ivy’s besties and even makes plans with them that don’t include Ivy. Iris even joins the swim team where Ivy is a star swimmer. As Iris’ strange behavior escalates, Ivy starts to suspect that their mother’s death might not have been an accident. Is Iris up to no good, or is Ivy just paranoid? In the end, readers may not care. There are few surprises to be found in a narrative populated by paper-thin characters stuck fast in a derivative plot. Even a jarring final twist can’t save this one. Most characters seem to be white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters.

A lackluster take on a well-worn trope. (Thriller. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12496-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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