A worthy read for teens looking to expand their worldviews.

READ REVIEW

PEAS AND CARROTS

Unwillingly brought together, two girls rely on snap judgements to guide their encounters with each other, and as a result, tempers flare.

Fifteen-year-old Dess Matthews, a white girl, has bounced from the streets to juvenile homes to foster care. Her dad is an abusive drug dealer. Her mom is a meth addict. Her grandma doesn’t want her. And her little brother, Austin, is in foster care. Hope Carter, also 15, a black girl, has lived a very different life—a comfortable one…except for the constant barrage of foster children streaming through her parents’ house, the latest being Austin. Dess is annoyed when she arrives at the Carters’ perfect home. Their daughter, whom she’s cruelly nicknamed “Hopeless,” is naïve, and Austin thinks of the Carters as his real family. One glance at Dess gives Hope all the information she needs to know about her new fashionista foster sister; Dess is trouble, especially with her “dragon-lady nails” and “unfriendly eyes.” The dialogue is sometimes clunky and awkward, but Davis’ dual narrative effectively portrays two very different but very genuine teenage characters—two girls learning to accept each other’s vastly different lifestyles as they try to coexist. Their relationship is fraught with tension, and their familial situations aren’t perfect, fostering an emotionally honest plot and candid conversations about race and class.

A worthy read for teens looking to expand their worldviews. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-51281-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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