Next book

I SEE LONDON, I SEE FRANCE

A fine escape for teens who like their Belgian waffles with ice cream and their chips with vinegar

When two college-age best friends take a backpacking trip across Europe, their relationship with each other—and men both familiar and new—is put to the test.

Mlynowski is known for infusing her tales of teen friendship and romance with comedy and banter, and this latest is no exception. When Matt cheats on Leela right before they’re supposed to go to Europe for the summer, Leela, who’s Indian, begs her BFF, Sydney, who’s white and Jewish, to take his place. Sydney reluctantly agrees—she’s terrified to leave her agoraphobic mother behind with her younger sister—and soon, the two are off on the adventure of a lifetime. But when they run into Matt, who is white, and his hot, olive-skinned friend Jackson at baggage “reclaim,” as the British delightfully call it, it’s clear this trip is going to be far different than expected—and not just for Leela. While the novel has a lively, light nature—thick doses of witty repartee, a rotating cast of international heartthrobs, and fun “travel tips” relayed before each new destination—it incorporates serious themes in a natural, delicate way, including assuming responsibility for a sick parent, the difficulties of traveling with friends, and the realities of a long-distance relationships. The ending, shockingly abrupt, feels out of place given the good-natured fizz that’s gone before.

A fine escape for teens who like their Belgian waffles with ice cream and their chips with vinegar . (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-239707-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Next book

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Next book

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

Close Quickview