The realistic message about the human heart’s resiliency doesn’t always fully merge with the science-fiction elements.

EVERYONE WE'VE BEEN

Addie’s investigation into the source of her hallucinations of a teenage boy is interspersed with flashbacks of her first romance.

Biracial (black/white) Addie’s conversations with a handsome, redheaded, white stranger elicit strange stares, something she’s been accustomed to all her life. When readers see how her best friend, Katy, reacts to stories about him, they will quickly realize that Addie is hallucinating. Eventually Addie also realizes she’s delusional, but she believes that her hallucination has an identity in the real world. She begins researching, convinced that discovering his identity will stop the delusions. However, the investigation’s dramatic tension is somewhat diminished since the interwoven flashbacks have already revealed that the hallucination and Addie’s first boyfriend, Zach, share many physical traits. This makes it easy for readers to conclude they are one and the same, and since Katy obviously knows the truth, Addie’s refusal to simply allow her to share her knowledge also makes the investigation seem unnecessarily drawn out. Readers spend much of the novel waiting for Addie to catch up, though the science-fiction brain surgery that explains both the hallucinations and a secondary plot involving Addie’s emotionally distant family dynamic will be surprising (unless readers have read the back cover blurb, which unfortunately contains many spoilers).

The realistic message about the human heart’s resiliency doesn’t always fully merge with the science-fiction elements. (Science fiction/romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-53844-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 27

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Exactly what the title promises.

BETTER THAN THE MOVIES

A grieving teen’s devotion to romance films might ruin her chances at actual romance.

Liz Buxbaum has always adored rom-coms, not least for helping her still feel close to her screenwriter mother, who died when she was little. Liz hopes that her senior year might turn into a real-life romantic fantasy, as an old crush has moved back to town, cuter and nicer than ever. Surely she can get Michael to ask her to prom. If only Wes, the annoying boy next door, would help her with her scheming! This charming, fluffy concoction manages to pack into one goofy plot every conceivable trope, from fake dating to the makeover to the big misunderstanding. Creative, quirky, daydreaming Liz is just shy of an annoying stereotype, saved by a dry wit and unresolved grief and anger. Wes makes for a delightful bad boy with a good heart, and supporting characters—including a sassy best friend, a perfect popular rival, even a (not really) evil stepmother—all get the opportunity to transcend their roles. The only villain here is Liz’s lovelorn imagination, provoking her into foolish lies that cause actual hurt feelings; but she is sufficiently self-aware to make amends just in time for the most important trope of all: a blissfully happy ending. All characters seem to be White by default.

Exactly what the title promises. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6762-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more