Mystery fans may wish for more sleuthing; those following the twins' love lives and military careers will find plenty of...

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THE SECRET OF OTHELLO

From the Fisher Key Adventures series , Vol. 2

This second adventure featuring twin amateur sleuths Steven and Denny Anderson focuses on the teens' personal lives.

Steven has sworn off dating, but multiple girls are pursuing him. Denny, finally out as gay to friends and family, is dating Brian and eager to lose his virginity before leaving to train for the Coast Guard at the end of the summer. Meanwhile, a tree falls on the Andersons' house, and the twins take up temporary residence on their friend Nathan Carter's boat. There are scuba-diving lessons with a cantankerous war veteran and his teenage daughter, a run-in with a strict and homophobic aunt, a martial arts challenge and a variety of relationship conflicts. Among so many subplots, the titular secret, which involves a mysterious, crashed satellite and violent out-of-towners eager to retrieve it, fades somewhat into the background. The result is a busy but lively teen drama with Steven and Denny's practical, caring, sometimes antagonistic and often humorous brotherly relationship at its center.

Mystery fans may wish for more sleuthing; those following the twins' love lives and military careers will find plenty of twists and turns to appreciate here. (Mystery. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60282-742-4

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Forgettable. (Fiction. 14-16)

HIT

A dual-narrator novel explores the concept of forgiveness.

Budding poet Sarah is torn between two colleges: Mills, which has offered her a full scholarship, and the University of Washington, whose only appeal is Mr. Haddings. A grad student and poet-in-residence at her school, the charismatic Haddings has Sarah considering a change of plans, to the dismay of Sarah’s controlling mother. Haddings knows he needs to keep the relationship professional, but he’s having a hard time with that. Then, in a moment of distraction, Haddings hits Sarah with his car. Over the next three days, Sarah will cope with the pain, the accident and her worries about her future, while her family—oblivious father, brittle mother and immature brother—and her best friend try to help her. Haddings copes with his crushing guilt, usually making choices that make everything worse. Straining credulity, both Sarah and Haddings wonder if there might be a chance for them still, when the more important question is whether they can ever forgive. Plot events are sequenced poorly and depend far too much on coincidence for their effect; the dual narrative does not provide substantial additional insight, making it feel contrived as well. Stilted dialogue makes characters feel flat, particularly Sarah’s brother.

Forgettable. (Fiction. 14-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-310-7295-0-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Blink

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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An undemanding, wish-fulfillment romance.

PAPER HEARTS

From the Heartbreakers Chronicles series , Vol. 2

Another fluffy romance between a girl and a boy-band member, following The Heartbreakers (2015).

Four years ago, after her rebellious older sister, Rose, ran away, Felicity came up with a plan for her future, one designed to make her single mom happy: going to Harvard and becoming a lawyer—just like her absentee dad. It also means working, studying hard, and volunteering as much as she can, leaving little time for enjoying her summer with her best friends, Asha and Boomer. Then, volunteering at a charity ball, she meets the very cute, very reserved Alec, a member of the Heartbreakers. Sparks fly, but right before their first date, Felicity discovers a life-altering secret her mother has been keeping: Rose has been writing Felicity letters since she left. This sends Felicity on a quest to find Rose, accompanied by Alec, Asha, and Boomer. Along the way, she’ll have to come to grips with questions about lies, the truth, and whether her plans for the future will make her happy—can her happiness include Alec? The romance between Felicity and Alec is standard, from the meet-cute to the inevitable misunderstanding. There’s not really anything that elevates the characters or plot beyond the conventional, yet Novak handles it all with a light, deft touch. Save mixed-race Asha, whose mother is Indian and whose father is white, the cast of principals is an all-white one.

An undemanding, wish-fulfillment romance. (Romance. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5336-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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