“Cinderella” meets Pride and Prejudice, and the result is a delight.

SIXTEEN SCANDALS

A young woman in Regency London finds her place in society through a chance encounter.

It’s 1821, and Primrose Ainsworth has just turned 16, but her prospects of improving her boring life are dim. As the youngest of four sisters in a modestly comfortable family, pale, freckled, redhead Prim is in turn reviled and ignored by her siblings and her ambitious mother, whose one desire is to marry off her daughters to rich suitors. Prim is abandoned at home on her birthday when her mother and sisters venture to Bond Street for an expensive shopping trip. One benefit of this situation is that Prim is left to her own devices—so when she chooses to join light-brown–skinned, black-haired Olympia Zaher, her sophisticated, glamorous friend, on a nocturnal adventure to that den of iniquity Vauxhall Gardens, no one is watching. Prim’s mother disapproves of the Zahers, mother and daughter, whom she regards with suspicion as foreigners from Andalusia. Armed with masks for disguise and adventurous attitudes, the two girls head for the forbidden playground. Exciting chases and near misses abound as Prim is dramatically rescued from several scrapes by a mysterious and exceedingly handsome stranger. Prim’s feminist spirit and determination to rise above her station will resonate with modern readers who feel trapped in difficult family situations.

“Cinderella” meets Pride and Prejudice, and the result is a delight. (Historical romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-20621-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun...

DOROTHY MUST DIE

When a cyclone deposits a 21st-century Kansas teen in Oz, she and readers discover there’ve been some changes made.

Dirt-poor “Salvation Amy” Gumm lives in a trailer park, effectively parenting her alcoholic mom (her dad ran off years ago), who seems to care more about her pet rat, Star, than her daughter. That doesn’t mean Amy is eager to be in Oz, particularly this Oz. Tyrannized by a megalomaniacal Dorothy and mined of its magic, it’s a dystopian distortion of the paradise Baum and MGM depicted. In short order, Amy breaks the wholly capricious laws and is thrown into a cell in the Emerald City with only Star for company. There, she’s visited first by the mysterious but sympathetic Pete and then by the witch Mombi, who breaks her out and takes her to the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked (among whom is the very hot Nox). Amy may well be the salvation of Oz—only someone from the Other Place can take Dorothy down. Paige has clearly had the time of her life with this reboot, taking a dystopian-romance template and laying it over Oz. Readers of Baum’s books will take special delight in seeing new twists on the old characters, and they will greet the surprise climactic turnabout with the smugness of insiders.

In the end, it’s just another violent dystopian series opener for all its yellow-brick veneer, but it’s a whole lot more fun than many of its ilk. (Dystopian fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228067-1

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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

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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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