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

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


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


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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