A layered, entertaining, contemporary rom-com.


In this companion to When Dimple Met Rishi (2017), two frenemies fake-date their way through summer vacation.

Pinky Kumar wears her social justice warrior badge with pride. Her mother, though, is not here for her brand of unapologetic do-gooding. Affronted after another false judgement by her mother, Pinky impulsively makes up a fake, respectable boyfriend and reaches out to the boy who fits the bill: Samir Jha. A friend of a friend, Samir is the total opposite of Pinky’s “Ms. Counterculture.” Stranded in D.C. after a prized law internship fell through, Pinky’s dating scheme offers Samir the opportunity to extend his time away from home and get an in with Pinky’s well-regarded lawyer mom. As Pinky and Samir spend more time with each other, the line between fake and real blurs. But will her “chaotic energy” ultimately clash with his careful order? While romance is at the forefront, Menon explores issues of social pressure, identity, environmentalism, and more. Much of the turbulence stems not from the tribulations of a fauxmance but from parent-child discord. Told in alternating voices, transitions are seamless, and major conflicts and minor loose ends are resolved neatly and in quick succession. Self-aware of its rom-com tropes, the novel delivers to fans of the genre with self-assuredness and heart. Pinky and Samir are Indian American; Pinky’s stepfather is Chinese American, and her biracial (Indian/white) cousin, Dolly, has had both girlfriends and boyfriends.

A layered, entertaining, contemporary rom-com. (Romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1681-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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