Thoughtful and thought-provoking.

WAITING FOR FITZ

While seeking treatment for mental illness in a psychiatric ward, a teen contemplates the meaning of life.

When her obsessive-compulsive disorder rituals become severe, 17-year-old Addie Foster must defer her senior year of high school to enter Seattle Regional Hospital’s psychiatric ward as an inpatient. Although her first-person account describes how her OCD manifests and some of her treatment plan, the focus is on her relationship with fellow patient Fitz, who suffers auditory hallucinations. An aspiring playwright, Addie becomes consumed with a homework assignment that questions Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Issues with Fitz and the play converge as the two find fun with puns and other wordplay and notice how people are always acting and wearing masks, both on- and offstage. The story escalates when Fitz asks Addie to help him escape the hospital and find closure to a painful secret. In the process of connecting with Fitz, Addie not only begins to understand the waiting in Beckett’s play, but also life itself. This complex story of merging metaphors and symbolism is for sophisticated readers who prefer reflection to adventure. Debut novelist Hyde offsets the painful realities of mental illness with gentle surprises and such humor as Fitz’s naming his hallucinations after popular country singers. One patient is Mexican-American; the default for all other characters is white.

Thoughtful and thought-provoking. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62972-527-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

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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Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love.

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  • Stonewall Book Awards Winner

  • National Book Award Winner

LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB

Finally, the intersectional, lesbian, historical teen novel so many readers have been waiting for.

Lily Hu has spent all her life in San Francisco’s Chinatown, keeping mostly to her Chinese American community both in and out of school. As she makes her way through her teen years in the 1950s, she starts growing apart from her childhood friends as her passion for rockets and space exploration grows—along with her curiosity about a few blocks in the city that her parents have warned her to avoid. A budding relationship develops with her first White friend, Kathleen, and together they sneak out to the Telegraph Club lesbian bar, where they begin to explore their sexuality as well as their relationship to each other. Lo’s lovely, realistic, and queer-positive tale is a slow burn, following Lily’s own gradual realization of her sexuality while she learns how to code-switch between being ostensibly heterosexual Chinatown Lily and lesbian Telegraph Bar Lily. In this meticulously researched title, Lo skillfully layers rich details, such as how Lily has to deal with microaggressions from gay and straight women alike and how all of Chinatown has to be careful of the insidious threat of McCarthyism. Actual events, such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s 1943 visit to San Francisco, form a backdrop to this story of a journey toward finding one’s authentic self.

Beautifully written historical fiction about giddy, queer first love. (author’s note) (Historical romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55525-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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