A complex, witty page-turner, ideal for YA fans of scandal and romance.

Love Me Never

From the Lovely Vicious series , Vol. 1

This hilarious, dark YA novel, the first in Wolf’s (Disarranged, 2013, etc.) Lovely Vicious series, examines the difficulties of love and high school through the scornful eyes of a teenager who’s droll beyond her years.  

Isis Blake is a clever, feisty, and seemingly confident teenage girl starting her senior year of high school in Northplains, Ohio, far away from her old life in Florida. She has a secret past full of bullying and heartbreak, and she’s riddled with obsessive thoughts of a boy whom she can only refer to as “Nameless.” As a result, she’s decided to swear off love for the rest of her life, declaring, “Love…is the enemy. Do not consort with the enemy.” She encounters Jack Hunter, a guy who “talks like an Einstein clone and looks like an underwear ad,” and punches him in the face at a party for insulting her new friend Kayla, who reminds her of her former self. She soon finds herself at war with Jack, nicknamed “The Ice Prince” by other teenagers who are hopelessly in love with him, and will stop at nothing to ruin his reputation as the mystifying, self-possessed Adonis of East Summit High. This YA novel is a juicy, enthralling read, driven by a devious, over-the-top war of wits between Jack and Isis. Through Isis’ first-person perspective, Wolf perfectly captures the frenzied stream of consciousness of an eccentric 17-year-old girl who aims to humiliate a boy in order to avenge the broken part of herself. However, it’s Isis’ depth that makes her a remarkable character. Her self-deprecating sense of humor and relentless one-liner retorts hide her insecurities; as the novel unfurls, so does her innermost self. Her dedication to her emotionally wounded mother is also commendable and illustrates that Isis is mature beyond her years. The mysteries surrounding her past heartbreak, Jack’s true emotions, and a disturbing revenge prank gone horribly wrong propel a narrative that’s quite difficult to put down.  

A complex, witty page-turner, ideal for YA fans of scandal and romance. 

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63375-229-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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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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A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

ADORKABLE

In O’Gorman’s YA debut, two best friends try to fool people into thinking that they’re in love—and then discover a new facet of their relationship.

Sally Spitz is a frizzy-haired 17-year-old girl with a charming zeal for three things: Harry Potter (she’s a Gryffindor), Star Wars, and getting into Duke University. During her senior year of high school, she goes on a slew of miserable dates, set up by her mother and her own second-best–friend–turned-matchmaker, Lillian Hooker. Sally refuses to admit to anyone that she’s actually head over Converses in love with her longtime best friend, a boy named Baldwin Eugene Charles Kent, aka “Becks.” After a particularly awkward date, Sally devises a plan to end Lillian’s matchmaking attempts; specifically, she plans to hire someone to act as her fake boyfriend, or “F.B.F.” But before Sally can put her plan into action, a rumor circulates that Sally and Becks are already dating. Becks agrees to act as Sally’s F.B.F. in exchange for a box of Goobers and Sally’s doing his calculus homework for a month. Later, as they hold hands in the hall and “practice” make-out sessions in Becks’ bedroom, their friendship heads into unfamiliar territory. Over the course of this novel, O’Gorman presents an inviting and enjoyable account of lifelong friendship transforming into young love. Though the author’s reliance on familiar tropes may be comforting to a casual reader, it may frustrate those who may be looking for a more substantial and less predictable plot. A number of ancillary characters lack very much complexity, and the story, overall, would have benefited from an added twist or two. Even so, however, this remains a largely engaging and often endearing debut. 

A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-759-7

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

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