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An engaging, sweet, and emotional journey.

Stuck reliving a single day, a teen seeks a way to break the cycle.

Clark has been living a time loop that resets every night to Sept. 19. At first, it was fun doing whatever he wanted with no rules or consequences; now, by day 309, Clark feels stuck in a monotonous grind, reliving events and conversations in his dingy apartment with his younger sister and mother while best friend Sadie is living it up in Texas after leaving Illinois. Without hope of change, Clark feels increasingly disconnected from his relationships. But when a new boy, Beau, shows up in class on Day 310 and drags him off on a madcap adventure, Clark has a new goal in life: escape Sept. 19 and find Beau for real. Clark’s time loop echoes the pandemic lockdown, with themes of social isolation, loneliness, and leaving one’s comfort zone to connect and rebuild relationships. Clark’s interactions with his therapist are a big part of the book, helping to ground the fantastical, romanticized premise. The romance itself is strange and satisfying, consisting of both classic meet-cute instant attraction between Clark and Beau and slow-burn character development as Clark hunts for Beau and seeks to learn more about him. While Clark’s narration at times feels naïve for a 17-year-old, his development is heartfelt and rings true. Clark reads White; biracial Beau’s late father was Black, and his mother is White.

An engaging, sweet, and emotional journey. (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: April 18, 2023

ISBN: 9781534497498

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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