It’s far from a must-read, but it's not without some appeal for readers looking for a romance with slightly higher stakes...

RECKLESS HEARTS

From the Wicked Games series , Vol. 2

When friendship turns into love, the path is rarely smooth—especially when there's a third party involved.

Best friends Jake and Elena are facing big changes. Thanks to the remarriage of Jake's mom, he's moving into the mansion of his stepfather, Cameron. He's also realized he's fallen in love with Elena. Using advice offered by his stepbrother, the reckless Nathaniel, Jake confesses how he feels to Elena. But Elena doesn't want to ruin their friendship—and she thinks of Jake like a brother. On the anime Web forum she visits, Elena meets Harlow, a bad boy who sweeps her off her feet. Jake has a bad feeling about this guy, but Elena refuses to listen. Even when Harlow convinces Elena to help him strike against his enemies, she doesn't realize the consequences of her action. And Jake, who knows the truth about Harlow, will get everything he wants but potentially could lose it all. While Jake and Elena are well-rounded characters, Nathaniel is all mustache-twirling evil. Too much time is spent setting the stage, which leads to a rushed plot resolution and an open ending that feels unnecessary. Olin’s prose style is flat, which doesn’t help matters.

It’s far from a must-read, but it's not without some appeal for readers looking for a romance with slightly higher stakes than the usual. (Romantic thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-219241-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist.

SHE'S GONE

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Gifford has no memories of the car accident he was in the night of the homecoming dance with Chloe Summers, his now-missing girlfriend.

In the small southern Kentucky city of Bentley, comments on social media condemn Hunter as responsible for Chloe’s disappearance. When he attends the community vigil for her, Chloe’s mother publicly accuses Hunter of obstructing the investigation. Hunter’s own mom died when he was 15 and his sister, Olivia, was 12. Their dad has awkwardly attempted to pull his weight as a solo parent, and Hunter has stepped in and nurtured Livvy. Small but mighty Livvy is an ardent defender of her brother and is fiercely in love with her girlfriend, Gabriela. To make things worse, childhood friend Daniel informs Hunter that he’s making a true-crime documentary about Chloe. Hunter is upset, especially since it makes him look like a prime suspect, and a subsequent dramatic event draws more attention to the video. Hunter and Chloe met in creative writing club, and he knew she kept a journal—but it’s missing. Enter the sleuthing team of Hunter, Livvy, and Gabriela, who hatch a plan to find it. The dynamics between Hunter and Livvy and Livvy and Gabriela are endearing and will charm readers, who will root for them to solve the well-executed mystery. Main characters default to White; Gabriela is Mexican American.

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-420-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES

Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love.

Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as "Theodore Freak," is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch's self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters brings to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others.

Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75588-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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