Lengthy but ultimately intriguing.

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A small-town girl can’t choose between two twin brothers in this psychological romance.

Jenna feels stifled in the little town of Solitude, Ark., where she’s lived all her life with her mother. Jenna dreams only of leaving home and living in the wider world when 17-year-old twin boys and their mom buy Jenna’s recently deceased grandfather’s house. First she meets Ian, a straight-A student who has been trying to reclaim his memories, mostly lost three months ago after a traumatic event. Then she meets Luke, who insists he’s the bad twin, always in trouble. However, Jenna can’t help being more attracted to Luke, although she knows she’s going behind Ian’s back to meet him. Complicating matters is Jenna’s mom, who suffers from the family tendency to drink and for whom Jenna feels responsible. Just when Jenna firmly decides she loves Luke, Luke tells her what really happened the night Ian lost his memory, a secret that changes everything. Guillory writes the entire novel through the shifting though identical first-person viewpoints of the three adolescents—readers will have to pay strict attention to chapter subheadings. Frequent nature-inspired metaphors (“the shadows [of the woods] swallowed me”) add depth. If the psychology gets a bit too convoluted toward the end, much of the story remains believable.

Lengthy but ultimately intriguing. (Psychological romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-937053-88-8

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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