A must-read for lost souls everywhere.

THE GHOSTS OF ROSE HILL

A magical realist romance told in verse explores the many transitions of life: from homelands to new homes, from childhood to adulthood, from life to death and back again.

The daughter of two immigrant legacies, Ilana Lopez knows what it is to live with ghosts of the past. On her mother’s side, there is a 500-year-long Jewish journey from Spain to Cuba to Miami Beach, and on her father’s side, a flight from 20th-century totalitarianism in the former Czechoslovakia. It’s the phantom of her family’s struggles that sees her exiled to Prague the summer of her 16th year: Separating Ilana from her friends and her beloved violin, her parents hope she will turn her attention to preparing for a stable, successful, American future rather than dreams of music. In Prague, she stays with her wild Aunt Žofie and stumbles upon a long-abandoned Jewish cemetery on the hill behind her house. Lonely and longing for understanding, Ilana learns about the heavy Jewish history of Prague as the ghost of a blue-eyed boy with dark curls wends his way into her beating heart. The past is alive in Ilana’s Prague, and it’s alive in this story that combines modern adolescent concerns, magical realism, and religious themes in pristine verse. An ode to the Diaspora and to the many folktales and myths populating Ilana’s mixed heritage, Romero’s luscious work dives into dark, painful caverns and emerges in sprays of enthralling hope.

A must-read for lost souls everywhere. (Verse novel. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-68263-338-0

Page Count: 452

Publisher: Peachtree Teen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A dizzying, intimate romance.

TODAY TONIGHT TOMORROW

Rowan teams up with her academic nemesis to win a citywide scavenger hunt.

Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been rivals in a never-ending game of one-upmanship since freshman year. Now, on the last day of senior year, Rowan hopes to best Neil once and for all as valedictorian, then win Howl, a scavenger hunt with a $5,000 cash prize. She also hopes to sneak away to her favorite romance author’s book signing; no one’s ever respected her passion for the genre, not even her children’s book author/illustrator parents. But Rowan’s named salutatorian, and vengeful classmates plot to end her and Neil’s reign. At first their partnership is purely strategic, but as the pair traverse the city, they begin to open up. Rowan learns that Neil is Jewish too and can relate to both significant cultural touchstones and experiences of casual anti-Semitism. As much as Rowan tries to deny it, real feelings begin to bloom. Set against a lovingly evoked Seattle backdrop, Rowan and Neil’s relationship develops in an absorbing slow burn, with clever banter and the delicious tension of first love. Issues of class, anti-Semitism, and sex are discussed frankly. Readers will emerge just as obsessed with this love story as Rowan is with her beloved romance novels. Rowan’s mother is Russian Jewish and Mexican, and her father is American Jewish and presumably White; most other characters are White.

A dizzying, intimate romance. (author’s note) (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4024-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A well-crafted plot with interesting revelations about living as a second-generation Muslim-American teen in today’s climate.

LOVE, HATE AND OTHER FILTERS

High school senior Maya Aziz works up the courage to tell her parents that she’s gotten into the film school of her dreams in New York City, but their expectations combined with anti-Muslim backlash from a terror attack threaten to derail her dream.

Maya, the only brown girl in her school with the only immigrant parents, loves parts of her Indian culture but blames everything she thinks she can’t have on her cultural constraints and on the fact that she’s different. Time is running out to break the news to her parents that her filmmaking is more than just a hobby. Meanwhile, two potential love interests command her attention. Her matchmaking parents like Kareem, an intriguing young Indian man Maya meets and dates, while Phil, a white classmate who’s been her longtime crush, remains a secret from her parents. Interspersed with Maya’s intimate first-person account are brief, cinematic interludes tracking a disturbed young man who commits a terror attack. First reports blame someone who shares Maya’s last name, and the backlash they suffer leads her parents to restrict Maya’s options. Maya is not especially religious, but she is forced to grapple with her Muslim identity as bullying takes a dangerous turn. Her feelings of entrapment within her parents’ dreams are laid on thick, and Maya herself notes a clichéd moment or two in her story, but the core relationships are authentic and memorable, and the conclusion is satisfying.

A well-crafted plot with interesting revelations about living as a second-generation Muslim-American teen in today’s climate. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61695-847-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Soho Teen

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more