Probing what’s on the other side of personal growth and risk-taking, this timely, engaging novel offers its own rewards.

TELL ME EVERYTHING

A teen explores the trappings of anonymity through social media.

In her fiction debut, Enni crafts an intriguing tale of identity formation in which a social media app plays nearly as central a role as the characters themselves. Loner goth Ivy, a straight white girl, finds herself at a loss when her overachieving, certifiable-genius best friend, brown-skinned Harold, a fellow sophomore, heads to a Stanford academic camp, leaving her to her own devices for the summer. Luckily, Ivy discovers VEIL, an art-sharing app where users can anonymously share their creations in a feed that is erased every Sunday at midnight. Primarily drawn to the ephemeral art posted on the site, Ivy soon finds herself captivated by how intimately people will share their lives in an anonymous forum. Ivy, a burgeoning photographer, not only uses the VEIL postings to create her own art, but goes on a mission to discover the identities of those cryptically sharing painful experiences and then help them. Ivy’s altruistic quest to be an ally has a wrench thrown into it when homophobic hate speech is posted on VEIL, upsetting the apple cart of anonymous free artistic expression and forcing all in Ivy’s world, including Enni’s well-meaning protagonist, to re-examine their assumptions about strangers as well as intimates with powerful, sometimes hilarious, results.

Probing what’s on the other side of personal growth and risk-taking, this timely, engaging novel offers its own rewards. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-13915-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Point/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.

ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART

From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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