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THREE DAY SUMMER

A positive portrait of a much-maligned era, this optimistic, exuberant tale is recommended for readers who’ve wondered why...

Two teens find the 1969 Woodstock music festival a life-changing event.

Michael, 18, knows what he doesn’t want—to go to college or be drafted to fight in Vietnam—it’s what he wants that confuses him, and would-be doctor Cora, 17, ponders transgressing cultural expectations for girls. Overcoming their inauspicious meeting in the medical tent, the two are drawn together—along with plenty of baggage. Michael drags his feet on breaking up with his hypercritical girlfriend. Cora longs to get over paternalistic Ned, who’s broken up with her. Michael’s passionate about music but feels like a slacker. Country girl Cora, unlike her brothers, has a nightly curfew and feels torn between her conservative father—proud veteran of two wars—and her anti-war siblings, one fighting in Vietnam. Not all that goes down is benign, but this is no cautionary fable. Sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll unapologetically prevail amid the muddy chaos, where strangers feed one another, concertgoers stand in line for hours to use the payphone, and iconic musicians play generational anthems. Against a turbulent backdrop of war, divisive social change, and awful weather, half a million people celebrated peace, love, and music together. Woodstock remains a resonant cultural marker, documenting the brief triumph of hope over experience, and Tash takes ample advantage of the moment.

A positive portrait of a much-maligned era, this optimistic, exuberant tale is recommended for readers who’ve wondered why the ’60s were so great. (Historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 19, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3931-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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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

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POWERLESS

From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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