Next book


A brooding romance with a compelling, gothic setting.

After surviving an apparent gas leak that killed 25 other people on the New York City subway, including her parents, a 17-year-old moves in with her estranged aunt in a castle in northern Spain.

Estela Amador has spent the seven months since the tragedy in a mental health facility, but upon learning the truth about her origins, she has little choice but to travel to the place her parents actively lied to keep her away from. Beatríz Brálaga, her maternal aunt, is brooding and remote, just like castillo Brálaga, the family’s ancestral home. Beatríz, who’s a doctor, gives Estela shriveled black pills instead of her usual medications. Estela learns about the history of the castle and nearby town from Felipe, her Spanish language tutor. Desperately curious to learn more, she experiences nighttime hauntings by a shadow beast as she explores the castle against her aunt’s express orders. After a menacing first encounter, Estela and the beast, Sebastián, form a partnership to uncover more of Estela’s past—if her past doesn’t destroy her first. Elements of Dracula meet “Beauty and the Beast” to create a dark, engaging atmosphere. While the romantic moments with Sebastián often interrupt the story’s genuine tension, and some of the family revelations veer into melodrama, the intriguing setting with its well-wrought details will keep readers engaged.

A brooding romance with a compelling, gothic setting. (author’s note, mental health resource, link to content warnings) (Fantasy romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781250863898

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

Next book


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

Next book


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

Close Quickview