High-concept, easy-to-read romances with feel-good messages.



From the Suddenly Royal series

Seventeen-year-old Noah’s life is turned upside down when his grandfather dies, forcing his family to move to his mother’s home country, where she must assume her duties as part of the royal family.

In Evonia, Noah must endure elaborate table manners, a never-ending itinerary of royal duties, and his grandmother’s matchmaking efforts. He is miserable in his new role until he meets Tori, a dynamic and beautiful girl who shares his passion for archaeology. When he learns that he is in line to assume the throne, he is faced with the most difficult decision of his life. The other titles in this reluctant reader series feature other teens forced to Evonia to assume their royal duties. In Becoming Prince Charming, by Loren Bailey, 17-year-old Mason discovers that being a slacker holds little charm for his new hardworking royal friends. In Royal Treatment by K.R. Coleman (Truth or Dare, 2017, etc.), 16-year-old Grace must trade in her blue hair and nose ring for updos and royal jewels, but she maintains her individuality when it comes to romance. In Next in Line by Vanessa Acton (Vortex, 2017, etc.), Carly, a high school junior, discovers she is a princess and only two places from the throne. In these stories linked only by location and familial ties, the focus is on individuality, personal responsibility, and moral character. Diversity is lacking, but the focus on family dynamics as more than angst-y teenager versus clueless parents is refreshing. Romance is present but limited to chaste kisses and some hand-holding. Formulaic plots and flat characters detract from the otherwise entertaining series, but readers who dream of one day being whisked away from their ordinary lives to a world of opulence will gobble these stories up.

High-concept, easy-to-read romances with feel-good messages. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2567-2

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Darby Creek

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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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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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