A little something puerile, amateurish and flat.

READ REVIEW

A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Hall’s debut is the inaugural release from Swoon Reads, a crowdsourced imprint of Macmillan.

Lea likes Gabe, and Gabe likes Lea, and everyone, including their matchmaking creative-writing professor, a bench on the green and a campus squirrel, wants them to be together. Sounds like a simple love story, but with 14 points of view, it’s anything but. Rather than a little something different, readers are handed a confusing train wreck populated by one-dimensional characters and indistinguishable voices (save the acorn-loving squirrel). Although the narrator of each section is clearly marked, change from one viewpoint to the next knocks readers clear off the page, and disappointingly, none of the dozen-plus voices are those of the would-be lovebirds. Gabe is pathologically shy, but he comes off as pathetically broody, and Lea’s wishy-washy attitude toward him is frustrating. The inclusion of several gay characters and the casual mention of Lea’s Chinese heritage feel forced, and the normalizing use of the phrase “skank queen” to describe the girl her friends view as Lea’s competition for Gabe’s affection is unpleasant. It’s not clear who the intended audience is, as the story is more playground drama than collegiate romance. Readers who live for fun and quirky love stories won’t find one here.

A little something puerile, amateurish and flat. (Romance. 15-19)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-250-06145-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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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A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing.

THE STARS WE STEAL

For the second time in her life, Leo must choose between her family and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Princess Leonie Kolburg’s royal family is bankrupt. In order to salvage the fortune they accrued before humans fled the frozen Earth 170 years ago, Leonie’s father is forcing her to participate in the Valg Season, an elaborate set of matchmaking events held to facilitate the marriages of rich and royal teens. Leo grudgingly joins in even though she has other ideas: She’s invented a water filtration system that, if patented, could provide a steady income—that is if Leo’s calculating Aunt Freja, the Captain of the ship hosting the festivities, stops blocking her at every turn. Just as Leo is about to give up hope, her long-lost love, Elliot, suddenly appears onboard three years after Leo’s family forced her to break off their engagement. Donne (Brightly Burning, 2018) returns to space, this time examining the fascinatingly twisted world of the rich and famous. Leo and her peers are nuanced, deeply felt, and diverse in terms of sexuality but not race, which may be a function of the realities of wealth and power. The plot is fast paced although somewhat uneven: Most of the action resolves in the last quarter of the book, which makes the resolutions to drawn-out conflicts feel rushed.

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing. (Science fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-94894-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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