A haven of understanding for readers who have felt the foolish hand of ignorance trying to prevent them from knowing, being,...

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IT LOOKS LIKE THIS

Ignorance takes a parent from powerful to pitiful in this steady coast through tragic heartbreak and retribution.

Fourteen-year-old Mike is starting high school in a new city after he, his parents, and younger sister, Toby, move eastward from Wisconsin to Virginia. He has a tight circle of outsider friends, a burgeoning artistic talent, an offensive chain-smoking nemesis named Victor, and a crush on a handsome, older classmate named Sean. A French class assignment pairs Sean and Mike together, and the frissons of excitement when he is near comfortable, confident Sean commence with a regularity that thrills Mike. It's incredible and feels good and right. Then why is Sean's father casting suspicious glances? Why does Mike's ultraconservative, religious father want him to play sports so badly? And why does Toby face swift punishment in order to defend Mike from a Baptist, Bible-banging grandmother who calls him “soft”? The first-person narrative is easy, casual, and calm, indicative of Mike, whose quiet perceptiveness can be misconstrued by outsiders as passivity (no speech marks make the dialogue feel direct and intimate). Sean’s race isn’t explicitly identified, but his brown skin offers respite from a snow-white landscape.

A haven of understanding for readers who have felt the foolish hand of ignorance trying to prevent them from knowing, being, and loving who they are . (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8719-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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    Best Books Of 2017

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  • Kirkus Prize
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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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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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    Best Books Of 2014

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WE WERE LIARS

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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