An adolescent adventure that touches on authentic, relatable issues of love and friendship.

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WALKING AWAY FROM TEXAS

In Bradley’s debut YA novel, an angst-filled, teenage girl navigates the uncertain line between friendship and true love.

Katie finds herself in a crisis of the heart when she discovers she might be in love with her lifelong best friend, Alan. The dialogue-rich story commences during the last year of high school, that pivotal time in adolescence, and describes with clarity the roller coaster of emotions that come along with saying goodbye to the only friends Katie knows. She doesn’t welcome the difficulties in choosing an uncertain future away from everything that is near and dear. She’s a pretty girl in her suburban Houston town—she models in her free time—and her social circle includes the head cheerleader, the star football player and Alan, her best friend, who rivals the others in his good looks and smooth talk. Despite their popular position in school and a picture-perfect home life, Katie is restless. She aspires to pursue modeling and acting in Los Angeles, but she’s forced to stay in Texas for college. Also, her ex-boyfriend, Matt, dumps her without warning, tainting her trust in men. The one man she clearly loves throughout the book is Alan, but as the story progresses, the reader learns right alongside Katie that she loves him more than just a friend. “I asked my heart and mind if I did the right thing by letting go of Alan and denying my burgeoning feelings for him,” she says. Her affections aren’t returned, though, so she mourns as Alan and the woman he loves move away to Florida for college. After continued persistence, including running to Florida to pledge her devotion to Alan, Katie realizes that she needs to learn to move on; she tries to focus her romantic attention elsewhere. It’s unclear if she’ll be able to discover the type of love she’s looking for in a person, but she directs her heart toward Hollywood, where she hopes to find a successful, happy future. “You know that I’m always looking for something bigger and better,” she says.

An adolescent adventure that touches on authentic, relatable issues of love and friendship.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2004

ISBN: 978-0595326723

Page Count: 110

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2012

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A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences.

MIDNIGHT SUN

From the Twilight series , Vol. 5

A long-awaited Twilight (2005) companion novel told from vampire Edward’s point of view.

Edward Cullen, a 104-year-old vampire (and eternal 17-year-old), finds his world turned upside down when new girl Bella Swan’s addictive scent drives a primal hunger, launching the classic story of vampire-meets-girl, vampire-wants-to-eat-girl, vampire-falls-in-love-with-girl. Edward’s broody inner monologue allows readers to follow every beat of his falling in love. The glacial pace and already familiar plot points mean that instead of surprise twists, characterization reigns. Meyer doesn’t shy away from making Edward far less sympathetic than Bella’s view of him (and his mind reading confirms that Bella’s view of him isn’t universal). Bella benefits from being seen without the curtain of self-deprecation from the original book, as Edward analyzes her every action for clues to her personality. The deeper, richer characterization of the leads comes at the expense of the secondary cast, who (with a few exceptions) alternate primarily along gender lines, between dimwitted buffoons and jealous mean girls. Once the vampiric threat from James’ storyline kicks off, vampire maneuvering and strategizing show off the interplay of the Cullens’ powers in a fresh way. After the action of the climax starts in earnest, though, it leans more into summary and monologue to get to the well-known ending. Aside from the Quileutes and the occasional background character, the cast defaults to White.

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences. (Paranormal romance. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-70704-6

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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