Clever chapter headings move the story toward a tidy ending, and Cole’s voice is convincingly filled with a combination of...

ANYWHERE BUT HERE

Small-town life has Cole down.

Everyone and everything in Webster, aka “the Web,” is holding him back. He dreams of moving to Vancouver after senior year to avoid the prospect of a ho-hum life with a boring job, wife and kids. Breaking up with Lauren is the first step on his new path to an exciting life as a filmmaker. As far as he’s concerned, he’s single, notwithstanding an “accidental post-breakup sex scene” with Lauren. So even when he starts hanging out with Hannah, an assertive, sexy girl who steps in as soon as news of the breakup gets around, he doesn’t think of himself as anyone’s boyfriend. His mother died less than a year ago, and like his father, he finds solace in drink. Filmmaking gives Cole needed distance from his home life, which sometimes feels like “part of a mandatory group project, like in health class.” While he’s working on a documentary that he thinks will reveal how tangled Webster’s residents are in its web, he’s utterly clueless about the real drama right in front of him—Lauren’s pregnant. Cole eventually finds that everyone’s life is complicated, and he’s the only one who feels trapped.

Clever chapter headings move the story toward a tidy ending, and Cole’s voice is convincingly filled with a combination of angst and nonchalance. (Fiction. 12–17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8070-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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A cute, feel-good coming-of-age story.

YOU HAVE A MATCH

A DNA test reveals that Abby has a sister she never knew about—and they head off to summer camp together to uncover family secrets.

When 16-year-old Abby’s best friend and secret crush, Leo, asks her to do a mail-in DNA test with him, Abby mostly agrees to give him a little push, as he clearly wants to find out more about his birth family. While the results don’t help Leo, they bring a shocking result for Abby: She has a full-blooded sister, 18-year-old Instagram wellness star Savvy, who lives in another Seattle suburb. After meeting and realizing their respective parents used to be friends, the two girls decide to meet again at summer camp. Unfortunately, camp gets off to a rough start; Savvy is a stickler for rules, Abby didn’t read the rules in the first place, and Leo is a camp chef, which only intensifies Abby’s feelings for him. With a summer full of new friends, hijinks, delicious food, and digging up secrets, Abby has to learn to lean in and own up to the complicated parts of life. This is a heartwarming novel of friendship and family, with a little romance. The story and characters have depth and emotion, touching on topics of broken friendships, losing a loved one, deception, social media, and pursuing what you love. Abby, Savvy, and Leo’s adoptive parents are White; Leo is Filipino.

A cute, feel-good coming-of-age story. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23730-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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