Funny and nostalgic, a highly contemporary riff on a timeless rite of passage.

THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR (PATHETIC) LIFE

It’s the week before high school graduation, time for the annual Senior Week Scavenger Hunt. Over a long day, Mary and the three other members of her team will bond one last time, settle old scores with rival teams, and pursue the elusive prize: a giant lawn-ornament Yeti.

For Mary, winning also means beating out Jake Barbone, the gay-bashing jock whom Georgetown admitted over Mary, despite her superior grades. Teammate Dez is a past Barbone victim; Winter and Patrick have agendas of their own that Mary’s forced to reckon with as the day unfolds. Harvard-bound Patrick isn’t satisfied with Mary’s friendship—he wants more. Is Winter hiding her own romantic secrets that might interfere with Mary’s scheme to secure Carson’s affections? While texting, sending videos and doing online searches via smart phone (this is one high-tech hunt), not to mention searching out live goldfish and puzzling over Dixie-cup icosahedrons and origami sheep, Mary will make surprising discoveries and confront uncomfortable truths. Anxious and excited, ebullient and sorrowful, she’s poised to take flight into the intoxicating world of adult freedom. But tearing around capturing fireflies and hunting out old stuffed animals brings home the bittersweet truth of what—and whom—she’ll leave behind.

Funny and nostalgic, a highly contemporary riff on a timeless rite of passage. (Fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: July 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-42326-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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