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 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020


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


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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