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A sweet, charming story about navigating life’s changes.

A young dancer struggles with challenges in her career and her life.

Pennsylvania high school freshman Noelle Partridge lost her mother six years ago; she lives with her distant, workaholic father. Noelle relishes all the trappings of a traditional Christmas, one highlight being dancing in The Nutcracker, but this year Noelle’s mom-inspired Christmas extravaganza is feeling stale. Then she’s invited to spend the holidays on a ski trip with her favorite family to babysit for. Enter love interest Wyatt Kahale, an accomplished 15-year-old ballet dancer and hunky heartthrob, who arrives unannounced at his family’s luxurious Vermont cabin. Wyatt, whom Noelle has long crushed on from afar via family photos and online dance videos, attends the high-end ballet academy where Noelle has been offered an audition. But while she dreams of attending, he’s thinking of dropping out, defying his pushy mother and hoping for more time with his dad and half siblings. The complicated chemistry between Noelle and Wyatt, and between Noelle and the Kahale family, is well drawn. Noelle’s anxieties and embarrassment over the situations she encounters are funny, relatable, and help to drive home the ultimate message of the story—that embracing the unpredictable and appreciating one’s friends are the most important things in life. Each chapter opens with a babysitting tip from Noelle. Mr. Kahale and Wyatt are cued as Native Hawaiian; Mrs. Kahale and Noelle read as White.

A sweet, charming story about navigating life’s changes. (Romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5401-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A smart, timely outing.

Two teens connect through a mysterious podcast in this sophomore effort by British author Oseman (Solitaire, 2015).

Frances Janvier is a 17-year-old British-Ethiopian head girl who is so driven to get into Cambridge that she mostly forgoes friendships for schoolwork. Her only self-indulgence is listening to and creating fan art for the podcast Universe City, “a…show about a suit-wearing student detective looking for a way to escape a sci-fi, monster-infested university.” Aled Last is a quiet white boy who identifies as “partly asexual.” When Frances discovers that Aled is the secret creator of Universe City, the two embark on a passionate, platonic relationship based on their joint love of pop culture. Their bond is complicated by Aled’s controlling mother and by Frances’ previous crush on Aled’s twin sister, Carys, who ran away last year and disappeared. When Aled’s identity is accidently leaked to the Universe City fandom, he severs his relationship with Frances, leaving her questioning her Cambridge goals and determined to win back his affection, no matter what the cost. Frances’ narration is keenly intelligent; she takes mordant pleasure in using an Indian friend’s ID to get into a club despite the fact they look nothing alike: “Gotta love white people.” Though the social-media–suffused plot occasionally lags, the main characters’ realistic relationship accurately depicts current issues of gender, race, and class.

A smart, timely outing. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-233571-5

Page Count: 496

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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From the Legend series , Vol. 1

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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