A white high school senior, unsure of whom to trust, navigates romance and secrets in Collins’ (Until We Meet Again, 2015, etc.) third novel.

After her involvement in a devastating car accident during junior year, Shelby’s anxiety and panic attacks became so severe that she entered a clinical program for “neural restructuring”—a combination of “brain stimulation” and hypnosis—to wipe her most painful memories. Both she and her mom are ready for her life to settle back to normal, complete with auditions for the lead role of Juliet in the school play. Yet although she has no memory of the accident, Shelby can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right. Little, unpredictable triggers still spike her anxiety, and there’s a boy—a boy named Auden who claims not only that she knows him, but that they are in love and that the doctors wiped her memories of him too at her mother’s request. Drawn to him, Shelby must decide whether she will trust him and secretly explore this old-but-new relationship or whether something feels wrong there, too. Shelby’s best friend’s escape from an emotionally abusive relationship leads both characters and readers to question the health of Shelby’s relationship with Auden, whose power in their relationship frequently wavers over the line of abusive. Shelby’s first-person narration sets up readers to discover the truth as Shelby does, but her present-tense voice is so bland it undercuts the tension, and readers will find the plot easy to predict.

Forgettable. (Thriller. 14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4760-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.


Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Several yards short of a touchdown.


A transgender boy starting over at a new school falls hard for a popular cheerleader with a reputation to protect in this debut.

On the first day of senior year, transgender boy Pony locks eyes with cisgender cheerleader Georgia. They both have pasts they want to leave behind. No one at Hillcrest High knows that Pony is transgender, and he intends to keep it that way. Georgia’s last boyfriend shook her trust in boys, and now she’s determined to forget him. As mutual attraction draws them together, Pony and Georgia must decide what they are willing to risk for a relationship. Pony’s best friend, Max, who is also transgender, disapproves of Pony’s choice to live stealth; this disagreement leads to serious conflict in their relationship. Meanwhile, Georgia and Pony behave as if Pony’s trans identity was a secret he was lying to her about rather than private information for him to share of his own volition. The characters only arrive at a hopeful resolution after Pony pays high physical and emotional prices. McSmith places repeated emphasis on the born-in-the-wrong-body narrative when the characters discuss trans identities. Whiteness is situated as the norm, and all main characters are white.

Several yards short of a touchdown. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294317-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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