Despite its enjoyable characters and palpable passion, sloppy execution and overall predictability make this one to skip....

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THE QB BAD BOY AND ME

Peppered with dirty jokes and sentimental moments, this risqué debut follows a quixotic quarterback and a self-possessed cheerleader through their torrid romance.

Headstrong and vaguely anti-social, high school senior Dallas Bryan knows who she is and what she wants: She’s a dancer masquerading as a cheerleader who wants out of Castle Rock, Colorado, by way of CalArts. Uninterested in dating, she nevertheless finds herself embroiled with Drayton Lahey, Archwood High’s superhot, superrich star quarterback. Can their tenuous pairing survive past high school? The book is driven by two major commitment-related conflicts: Drayton battles with his parents over pressure to continue a family legacy of playing for Baylor University while Dallas must come to terms with her aversion to serious relationships. A forthright narrator, Dallas shares the always horny, often boozy highlights of the adventures enabled by Drayton’s bottomless wallet and selectively permissive parents. In one episode, an away-game liaison leads to a jaunt in California; in another, a CalArts campus tour guide shows up in Colorado and forces the not-quite-couple to acknowledge their bond—which, as an outcome of their ongoing romantic tension, will not come as a surprise to readers. Occasional narrative omissions prove disappointing, and linguistic slips by the New Zealand author are distracting. Most characters are assumed white; Dallas’ best friend is cued as black.

Despite its enjoyable characters and palpable passion, sloppy execution and overall predictability make this one to skip. (Romance. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9936899-4-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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...

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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Will cast a spell on romance fans.

SERPENT & DOVE

From the Serpent & Dove series , Vol. 1

A stealth witch and a devout witch hunter are forced to marry.

In this French-flavored fantasy world, witches are hunted down by the Church’s Chasseurs and burned at the stake; they retaliate against this genocidal crusade through vicious terrorist attacks. Thief Louise le Blanc wants none of that—she’s left her witch life behind. But Lou ends up on Chasseur captain Reid Diggory’s radar when a heist goes bad; his attempt to catch her lands them in a situation so compromising that the archbishop suggests marriage to save face. Lou’s initial priority is self-protection—wanting to avoid both fallout from the heist and a dangerous figure from her past—and she’s fine with using Reid. The slow-burn, opposites-attract romance between crass, irreverent Lou and prim and proper Reid gets very hot and sexy once it ignites. Lou sees firsthand the damages some witches do to innocents, has her presumptions about individual Chasseurs challenged, and also sees up close the horrors Chasseurs perpetrate. Despite occasional pacing hiccups and an easily guessed twist, the secondary characters will charm readers, and the story picks up when Lou’s past dangerously catches up to her, revealing the true stakes. Though at heart a romance, rich second-tier characters round out the shades-of-gray, morality-and-empathy themes. Witches, Chasseurs, and some secondary characters come in all colors; the leads appear white. The ending screams sequel.

Will cast a spell on romance fans. (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-287802-1

Page Count: 528

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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