Sankalp, a wish: that readers let the poetry and music transport them; it’s a journey worth making.

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BOMBAY BLUES

From the Born Confused series , Vol. 2

Long awaited, anticipated, likely to be debated: Dimple Lala is back.

Hidier quietly revolutionized YA literature with Born Confused (2002), and this sequel indicates she’s intent on a repeat. Dimple, now in college and still with beat-dropping Karsh, heads to Bombay ostensibly for a wedding but really for so much more; still, perhaps, born confused, she is in search of home. Dense, lyrical, full of neologic portmanteaus and wordplay (“magnifishence”; “candlecadabra”): This is a prose-poem meditation on love, family and homecoming (or not) posing as a novel. Under the poetry lurks a simple story: a failing relationship and a dreamy but steamy affair; the pain of returning to a place where a loved one no longer lives. Dimple’s narration transforms mundane details into something more meaningful if less comprehensible—laced with the languages and cadences of India and set in the maze of Bombay (never Mumbai), there is a lot to decode and no glossary or map to help (a lack perfectly in keeping with the novel but frustrating nevertheless). Many readers may not persevere; those that do may stall out with the multiple false endings as Dimple stutter-stops her way to an ending—but, tragically, they’ll be missing out.

Sankalp, a wish: that readers let the poetry and music transport them; it’s a journey worth making. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-38478-0

Page Count: 560

Publisher: PUSH/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

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THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing.

THE STARS WE STEAL

For the second time in her life, Leo must choose between her family and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Princess Leonie Kolburg’s royal family is bankrupt. In order to salvage the fortune they accrued before humans fled the frozen Earth 170 years ago, Leonie’s father is forcing her to participate in the Valg Season, an elaborate set of matchmaking events held to facilitate the marriages of rich and royal teens. Leo grudgingly joins in even though she has other ideas: She’s invented a water filtration system that, if patented, could provide a steady income—that is if Leo’s calculating Aunt Freja, the Captain of the ship hosting the festivities, stops blocking her at every turn. Just as Leo is about to give up hope, her long-lost love, Elliot, suddenly appears onboard three years after Leo’s family forced her to break off their engagement. Donne (Brightly Burning, 2018) returns to space, this time examining the fascinatingly twisted world of the rich and famous. Leo and her peers are nuanced, deeply felt, and diverse in terms of sexuality but not race, which may be a function of the realities of wealth and power. The plot is fast paced although somewhat uneven: Most of the action resolves in the last quarter of the book, which makes the resolutions to drawn-out conflicts feel rushed.

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing. (Science fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-94894-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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