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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An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence.

WATCH OVER ME

After a horrific domestic violence incident, Zoey Ward and her family finally find their footing in Las Vegas only to have their lives overturned by a house fire.

Learning that her father has been recently released from prison, Zoey suspects he had something to do with the blaze. After their lives go up in flames, literally, Zoey along with her mom and her younger siblings, Kate and Cole, flee Las Vegas with the help of her older brother, Will, and his best friend, Tristan. They take refuge in California, where Tristan and his sister welcome them into a world where things seem hopeful and more stable than anything they have ever known. Yet the fear of being hunted down by her father consumes Zoey. The story is narrated from Zoey’s and Tristan’s first-person perspectives, and Gray (Run Away With Me, 2017, etc.) has masterfully captured the uncertainty and terror that come from domestic violence. Tristan and Zoey share a budding romance in which Zoey slowly but surely learns to love and be loved in a nondestructive, healthy way despite her fears and reservations. With everything she has been through, Zoey is the underdog readers will find themselves rooting for. Gray spares no detail in this intense tale. All characters are assumed to be white; Tristan is dyslexic, and there are several queer characters.

An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence. (Fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4281-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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A compulsively readable YA novel that seems like an adult romance, which may appeal to older teenagers looking for something...

Paper Princess

From the The Royals series , Vol. 1

An orphan enters a world of privilege and decadence after she’s taken in by a wealthy family in this debut YA romance.

Seventeen-year-old Ella Harper is determined to overcome a difficult childhood. Raised by a single mother, she’s never met her father; however, she has a few clues as to his identity: his name is Steve, and her mother met him while he was in the U.S. Navy. After her mother’s death, Ella moves to a small town in Tennessee, enrolls in school, and takes a job as a stripper. One day, a man named Callum Royal comes to her school and tells her that Steve died and he’s her new guardian. They served together in the Navy, he says, before they built a successful aviation company. He’s helping to settle Steve’s estate and support the daughter whom Steve never located. Wary of his motives but hoping to learn more about her father, Ella accompanies Callum to his estate, where she meets his five sons, Gideon, Reed, Easton, and twins Sawyer and Sebastian. Their mother died under questionable circumstances, and they have a strained relationship with Callum. They’re also openly hostile toward Ella, particularly Reed. Ella soon discovers dark undercurrents in the family while also discovering her attraction to the sullen Reed. They fall in love, but secrets from the past soon threaten their relationship. Watt’s novel moves along at a brisk, enjoyable pace, and it’s built on an intriguing premise with well-developed characters. She doesn’t overplay her hand by revealing too much too soon; instead, small details, such as a mysterious bruise on Reed’s face, lead to shocking revelations later in the story. Ella is a dynamic, sympathetic protagonist who appreciates Callum’s generosity while trying to remain grounded. Although her relationship with Reed begins on an antagonistic note, it gradually evolves into one that crackles with passion. However, some of their scenes together are more erotic than many written for adult novels, so they might be more appropriate for an older YA or adult audience.

A compulsively readable YA novel that seems like an adult romance, which may appeal to older teenagers looking for something in the vein of Gossip Girl.

Pub Date: April 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68230-456-3

Page Count: 370

Publisher: EverAfter Platinum

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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