Alternately entertaining and repellent

OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS

Beings from Alpha Centauri have made contact with Earth. Also Derek keeps getting to touch Jennifer Novak’s boobs.

Ever since the Centaurians from Pud 5 sent their message to Earth, narrator Derek’s classmates in Maumee, Ohio, have been focused on nihilistic partying. (It’s not clear if Derek’s high school years have ever been much more than nihilistic partying or, at least, more than playing “Mario Kart” while getting wasted on weed, beer, and occasional shrooms or acid). Derek (white by default) is not sure why Jenny, a stunning white redhead, wants his inexperienced ass, but she apparently does; she crushes him in beer pong, takes him home from a party, and relieves him of his virginity. Instantly infatuated, Derek decides she’s his girlfriend and thinks of her as if she’s a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Though he’s angry when his friends slut-shame Jenny, once Derek realizes he’s not her only sexual partner, he’s alternatingly needy and cruel. Meanwhile, he’s befriended a little gray alien from Pud 5. While the United States ramps up for war with a fictional Middle Eastern country, Derek begs his alien friend to create world peace so Jenny won’t leave him. The alien plot’s original and witty, but this feels primarily like a vehicle for faux-philosophizing in which Derek never, even post-epiphany, sees girls as actual people.

Alternately entertaining and repellent . (Science fiction. 15-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8845-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Will cast a spell on romance fans.

SERPENT & DOVE

From the Serpent & Dove series , Vol. 1

A stealth witch and a devout witch hunter are forced to marry.

In this French-flavored fantasy world, witches are hunted down by the Church’s Chasseurs and burned at the stake; they retaliate against this genocidal crusade through vicious terrorist attacks. Thief Louise le Blanc wants none of that—she’s left her witch life behind. But Lou ends up on Chasseur captain Reid Diggory’s radar when a heist goes bad; his attempt to catch her lands them in a situation so compromising that the archbishop suggests marriage to save face. Lou’s initial priority is self-protection—wanting to avoid both fallout from the heist and a dangerous figure from her past—and she’s fine with using Reid. The slow-burn, opposites-attract romance between crass, irreverent Lou and prim and proper Reid gets very hot and sexy once it ignites. Lou sees firsthand the damages some witches do to innocents, has her presumptions about individual Chasseurs challenged, and also sees up close the horrors Chasseurs perpetrate. Despite occasional pacing hiccups and an easily guessed twist, the secondary characters will charm readers, and the story picks up when Lou’s past dangerously catches up to her, revealing the true stakes. Though at heart a romance, rich second-tier characters round out the shades-of-gray, morality-and-empathy themes. Witches, Chasseurs, and some secondary characters come in all colors; the leads appear white. The ending screams sequel.

Will cast a spell on romance fans. (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-287802-1

Page Count: 528

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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