A paint-by-numbers thriller and superfluous romantic complications create high stakes without any real emotional engagement.

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100 HOURS

Two Latina cousins are trapped in a web of violence that exposes hard truths about their family.

Genesis is beautiful and rich—the center of every crowd, thanks to her assertive personality. Her cousin Maddie isn’t like that, and she hates how she lets herself get swept up by Genesis. Instead of going to the Bahamas for spring break, Genesis takes Maddie and Maddie’s brother, Ryan, along with several other friends, including white boyfriend Holden, to the cousins’ fathers’ native Colombia, searching for authenticity, away from tourists. They find it on a hike into a national park when the group is taken hostage. Amid her romantic drama, Genesis searches for the reason why the mustache-twirling kidnappers want to use Genesis and her cousins as leverage with Genesis’ wealthy father, compelling him to help their cause. When Genesis and Maddie discover they’re not kidnappers but terrorists, they want to stop them—but how can two teenage girls stop terrorists? This first novel in a planned trilogy arbitrarily covers the titular 100 hours, but it spends far too much time establishing the characters before they are kidnapped. Although she mentions the real terrorist group FARC in passing, Vincent’s terrorists aren’t identified as belonging to a particular group; their anti-American plot effectively and unfortunately obscures Colombia’s actual experiences with violence. While there is plenty of action, switching between Genesis and Maddie undercuts the tension—yet somehow doesn’t really create much feeling in readers for either character.

A paint-by-numbers thriller and superfluous romantic complications create high stakes without any real emotional engagement. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-241156-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

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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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

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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