A timely, honest story about women’s right to choose.

GIRLS LIKE US

Four girls navigate the impact of pregnancies on their futures in 1972.

Ola, 16, and Izella, 15, are sisters living in rural Georgia with their devoutly religious mother, Evangelist. After visiting their seer neighbor, Ola discovers she’s pregnant by her long-term boyfriend, a Vietnam War veteran suffering from PTSD, and she looks to Izella for support. Needing to be seen as mature, Izella feels obligated to take on the burden of Ola’s situation and find a way to get rid of the baby. Evangelist looks after 14-year-old Missippi, who longs for a mama to guide her and someone to talk to while her father is away working. Now pregnant by her sexually abusive uncle, she leaves for Chicago to live with Ms. Pearline and other girls like her. While there, she meets Sue, 17, a white politician’s daughter who is determined to rage against the silencing of women. As the nonlinear timeline goes on, each girl begins to understand the gravity of her situation, culminating in unbreakable bonds between them. Pink (Into White, 2016) weaves a heart-wrenching narrative through multiple perspectives that examines life before Roe v. Wade. The author brings to light the reality about the lack of choices that women, especially young, unwed women, had in regard to their futures. Ola, Izella, and Missippi are black.

A timely, honest story about women’s right to choose. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-15585-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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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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