SCATTERED SHOWERS

STORIES

Romance blooms even during turbulent winters.

Missed chances on New Year’s Eve, a Star Wars movie premiere, the soundtrack to grieving a breakup, breaking traditions for a school dance, celebrating holidays amid a pandemic, a modern fairy tale, stark realizations about life passing by, the awkwardness of bringing a boyfriend home for Christmas, and characters in limbo, waiting to be written into the story: Rowell weaves these scenarios into nine short stories, some realistic and some fantasy and most taking place during the winter or relating to holidays. A number are set in the author’s home state of Nebraska. Fans will recognize a few familiar characters, including Simon and Baz from Carry On (2015), the sole queer couple in this collection. All but one story ends in a definite romance, but they are all about the honest, layers-peeled-back connections by which people feel seen by one another. With this volume, which includes four previously published entries, Rowell offers more of what she does best: character-driven stories interlaced with a healthy dose of nerdiness and a little sappy indulgence thrown in as a treat. It’s easy to get swept up in these tales and root so passionately for the protagonists that it almost hurts, but readers will close the covers feeling satisfied. Except for one Vietnamese American protagonist, the cast is predominantly White. Each story is prefaced by an attractive mulberry- or mint green–and-white, full-page illustration that helps set the mood.

A treat. (Short stories. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2508-5541-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 14

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

Don’t look over sea or under stone, this is the fantasy novel for all once and future fans of suspense-filled storytelling.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

LEGENDBORN

From the Legendborn series , Vol. 1

Sixteen-year-old Black whiz kid Bree Matthews battles grief and demonic forces on her college campus.

After her mother dies in an accident, Bree begins a residential program for enterprising teens at her mother’s alma mater and, soon after her arrival, witnesses a magical attack that triggers hidden memories about the evening her mother was killed. Haunted by the fact that their final conversation was an argument, Bree begins a redemptive quest to uncover the connection between her mother’s death and the university’s secret society, the Order of the Round Table, joining their ranks as an initiate and unwittingly stumbling into a centuries-old supernatural war. While competing in the tournament that determines entry to the society, Bree discovers the truth about her heretofore unknown magical abilities, unwinding a complex history that showcases the horrors chattel slavery in the American South perpetuates on the descendants of all involved. Push through clunky expositions and choppy transitions that interrupt the cohesion of the text to discover solid character development that brings forward contemporary, thoughtful engagement with the representation, or lack thereof, of race in canonical Arthurian lore and mythologies. Representation of actualized, strong queer characters is organic, not forced, and so are textual conversations around emotional wellness and intergenerational trauma. Well-crafted allusions to established legends and other literary works are delightful easter eggs.

Don’t look over sea or under stone, this is the fantasy novel for all once and future fans of suspense-filled storytelling. (author's note) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4160-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more