DON'T THINK TWICE

A darkly funny, intensely affecting coming-of-age novel set in a home for unwed mothers in Texas, 1967. Anne, 17, is an intelligent young woman, swept away by first love for the baby's father, a love that is not requited. In her first weeks at the home, hers is an unfocused anger: ``I read A Streetcar Named Desire last year,'' she tells readers in the first-person, present-tense narrative, ``because the school district banned it and I wanted to stick up for the Constitution.'' At the novel's end, she has matured from such childish rebellion to adulthood, and can play hardball when she must, refusing to sign adoption papers until she's allowed to hold her newborn. The ``happy'' resolution Anne wanted initially isn't possible—she can't give birth and jettison all memory of the baby—but another, more courageous, outcome is. Anne has broken through to a larger reality than her peers or family can envision; readers will know that she is a survivor who is tough yet capable of tenderness and humor, and they will love her. Pennebaker's masterful first novel depicts a time when to be pregnant and unmarried was to be ostracized, but it makes Anne's concerns no less applicable today; the strength and truthfulness of all the characterizations as well as the scope of their issues give this debut a resounding timeliness. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8050-4407-8

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

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. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 26

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more