A powerful story full of determination.

Heartbreak drives a teenager to do a triathlon.

When Miho’s boyfriend of two years breaks up with her out of the blue, she is furious and heartbroken. It’s senior year, and she didn’t apply for college like her friends, so the only distraction she has is her job delivering pizzas on her bike. Following a moment of inspiration, Miho decides to do an Ironman race, believing that swimming, biking, and running 140.6 miles will be enough to feel better and (figuratively) leave her ex behind. But the Ironman fee is too expensive, so her friends create a triathlon-length race for her, the Miho-man. Together they help her train, but it isn’t easy, especially for a girl who hasn’t even run a mile in PE. With the support of her best friends, her dad, and others in her community, Miho fights against barriers and self-doubt to finish the race. Miho’s journey is a powerful coming-of-age story full of grit. Through Miho and other characters, the novel dives into the intersections of race, class, and sexual orientation. Although the book is set in Hawaii, Miho only moved there from California during middle school; the story is told from her first-person perspective, presenting Hawaii through the lens of an outsider who does not entirely understand her new home. Miho is multiracial, with Japanese, Black, and other, unspecified, ancestry. Secondary characters are diverse across multiple dimensions.

A powerful story full of determination. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6691-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


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

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. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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