A little something puerile, amateurish and flat.

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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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...

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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