BLUE LIKE FRIDAY

In a hilarious, dryly solemn voice, Olivia tells of her friend Hal’s attempt to get rid of his “sort-of stepfather.” Placing a pebble in each of Alec’s shoes nightly doesn’t make “Him” leave. So Hal anonymously hires Alec to paint the hospital mortuary (triple pay rates for the weekend). Alec takes the bait, inducing a huge row between Alec and Hal’s mother, who’s expecting Alec to attend her golf competition. Hal and Olivia trail Alec to the job—but Alec never emerges, and a flashing police car enters. Has Alec been arrested? A cautious visit to the police station implies not, but then Hal’s mother truly does disappear for days. This mellow Irish town is the perfect setting for Parkinson’s plot, which is funny and serious at the same time. Practical Olivia sometimes rolls her eyes at peculiar Hal, especially his synesthesia (Friday is “tangy . . . sort of lemony, only sweet, like lemon sherbet”), but the two are well-suited. The whereabouts of Hal’s missing mother may provoke vehement opinions. Deftly painful and sweet, never sentimental. (glossary) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59643-340-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2008

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LOVE, STARGIRL

Fifteen-year-old Susan “Stargirl” Caraway has moved to Pennsylvania, but as independent and free-spirited as she is, she can’t seem to let go of Arizona and her old boyfriend Leo Borlock. She’s lonely, even in the midst of a loving family and a colorful cast of characters in her new town. There’s five-year-old spitfire Dootsie, agoraphobic Betty Lou, angry Alvina, Margie the donut queen and mysterious Perry, a potential new boy in Stargirl’s life. As much as readers will relish this community and wish Stargirl would get on with her life there and forget mooning over Leo, she can’t seem to, and the whole leisurely paced novel is “the world’s longest letter” to him. Humor, graceful writing, lively characters and important lessons about life will make this a hit with fans of Stargirl (2000) and anyone who likes a quiet, reflective novel. Those meeting Stargirl here for the first time will want to read the previous work to see if Leo is worthy of her devotion. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-375-81375-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY

Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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