Despite the racy subject matter, this is a slow-moving story with a disappointing lack of resolution.

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SATELLITE DOWN

In the mid-1990s, 17-year-old aspiring print journalist Patrick Sheridan from rural Texas is selected to be a student anchor on a news show broadcast into high schools nationwide in this reissue of a 1998 title.

Patrick's extremely strict adoptive Catholic parents (who have banished their older, biological daughter from their lives) reluctantly allow him to move to Los Angeles alone. When Patrick leaves Texas he is still a polite, God-fearing, and sincere young man—but he soon falls down the slippery slope of fame with sex, drugs, and alcohol. Realizing that the show is more about entertainment than journalism, Patrick becomes depressed and stops caring about life. While on assignment in Belfast, he runs away to his Grampa’s hometown of Kilbeg in the Republic of Ireland on a journey of self-discovery. However, the Irish interlude feels tacked on at the end and does not contribute meaningfully to the story. The book shows the impact of the Hollywood lifestyle not only on young stars, but also on the jaded and cynical adults who work there. It follows a white default, with racial, socio-economic, and sexual orientation diversity in secondary characters; a black female character is unfortunately portrayed in a highly stereotypical manner, bordering on caricature. Due to his complexion, Patrick believes that he may be biracial.

Despite the racy subject matter, this is a slow-moving story with a disappointing lack of resolution. (Fiction. 16-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3010-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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An atmospheric and creepy page-turner.

I KILLED ZOE SPANOS

Seventeen-year-old Anna Cicconi finds herself in the middle of a mystery when she takes a summer nanny job in the swanky Hamptons enclave of Herron Hills.

Frick begins her story at the end. Well, sort of. August in the Hamptons signals the turning of the leaves and sees the grisly discovery of 19-year-old Zoe Spanos’ body. Zoe disappeared on New Year’s Eve, and Anna, who happens to strongly resemble her, has confessed to her murder. However, Martina Green, who runs the podcast Missing Zoe, doesn’t believe Anna did it and attempts to find out what really happened. Flash back to June: Hard-partying recent high school grad Anna sees her new job caring for Tom and Emilia Bellamy’s 8-year-old daughter as a fresh start. As one sun-drenched day melts into the next, Anna is drawn to Windemere, the neighboring Talbots’ looming, Gothic-style home, and to the brooding, mysterious Caden Talbot. But Anna can’t shake a feeling of déjà vu, and she’s having impossible memories that intertwine her life with Zoe’s. Frick easily juggles multiple narratives, and readers will enjoy connecting the dots of her cleverly plotted thriller inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca. Anna and Zoe are white; the supporting cast includes biracial characters Martina (Latinx/white) and Caden (black/white). Caden discusses grappling with being raised by white adoptive parents, facing racialized suspicion as Zoe’s boyfriend, and feeling marginalized at Yale.

An atmospheric and creepy page-turner. (map) (Thriller. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4970-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence.

WATCH OVER ME

After a horrific domestic violence incident, Zoey Ward and her family finally find their footing in Las Vegas only to have their lives overturned by a house fire.

Learning that her father has been recently released from prison, Zoey suspects he had something to do with the blaze. After their lives go up in flames, literally, Zoey along with her mom and her younger siblings, Kate and Cole, flee Las Vegas with the help of her older brother, Will, and his best friend, Tristan. They take refuge in California, where Tristan and his sister welcome them into a world where things seem hopeful and more stable than anything they have ever known. Yet the fear of being hunted down by her father consumes Zoey. The story is narrated from Zoey’s and Tristan’s first-person perspectives, and Gray (Run Away With Me, 2017, etc.) has masterfully captured the uncertainty and terror that come from domestic violence. Tristan and Zoey share a budding romance in which Zoey slowly but surely learns to love and be loved in a nondestructive, healthy way despite her fears and reservations. With everything she has been through, Zoey is the underdog readers will find themselves rooting for. Gray spares no detail in this intense tale. All characters are assumed to be white; Tristan is dyslexic, and there are several queer characters.

An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence. (Fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4281-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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