A lighthearted and engaging romp for anyone who loves Spidey and Mary Jane's upside-down kiss in the rain.

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THE GEEK'S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVE

For Graham Posner, a geeky, bespectacled white teenager from Long Island, the love he feels for Roxana Afsari, the Persian girl next door, is as epic as Peter Parker’s for Gwen Stacey—without the whole dying bit.

A self-respecting comic-book devotee cannot simply blurt out his amorous feelings; the moment has to be hero-worthy, and Graham knows that New York Comic-Con during a Q-and-A with their favorite comic creator is the perfect opportunity. How to make that epic moment happen is the subject of Tash’s witty third novel (The Mapmaker and the Ghost, 2012, etc.), and what follows is an unabashed love letter and delightful inside joke for comic enthusiasts who were fans long before Hollywood made geek culture chic. The author perfectly captures the earnestness and grandiose sentiment of a love-struck teenager whose life is fueled by and intertwined with geek culture, and the narrative’s diverse cast is a testament to comic books’ universal appeal. Teen issues such as violating curfew on a school night or missing out on coveted tickets to an event receive the same gravitas with which the X-Men save the world and race home in time for dinner. Best of all, the novel captures the joyous spirit of Comic-Con and fantasy’s ability to provide its devotees with a community through which to contextualize their joys and sorrows.

A lighthearted and engaging romp for anyone who loves Spidey and Mary Jane's upside-down kiss in the rain. (Fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5653-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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