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

THREE DAY SUMMER

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 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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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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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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