A fleeting diversion.

Welcome to the glamorous—and cutthroat—world of social media influencers.

Sixteen-year-old newbie Delilah Rollins became a minor celebrity after her rescue of a puppy from a burning shed was caught on video and went viral. When she’s invited by actress Jasmine Walters-Diaz to an influencer party at a fancy Los Angeles hotel, she’s thrilled. Jasmine introduces Delilah to influencer and aspiring actress Fiona Jacobs, and Fiona’s boyfriend warns Delilah away from the blonde and supposedly toxic Scarlet Leigh. Delilah also has a meet-cute with a green-eyed guy who turns out to be none other than Scarlet’s beau, YouTube star Jack Dono. Cue the melodrama. When someone is murdered, Delilah vows to root out the killer in their midst. Via alternating narratives, the authors divvy up a handful of serious issues among the main cast, including bullying, sexuality, and mental illness, and Shepard’s co-author, real-life teen influencer Buckingham, brings authenticity to a world defined by likes and clicks. But the final product is akin to flipping through a tabloid: It’s glossy and salacious but ultimately shallow, and the murder mystery, complete with an out-of-left-field denouement, lacks tension. Still, things end on a hopeful note, and the overarching message of being true to oneself is evergreen. The cast includes some queer characters and seems to be mostly white; Jasmine is cued as Latinx, and Fiona is described as having caramel skin.

A fleeting diversion. (Mystery. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12153-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020


A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024


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

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