A Holden Caulfield for a new generation.

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THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER

Sixteen-year-old Quinn Roberts is officially hiding from the world.

Six months after the death of his beloved sister, Annabeth, Quinn’s house remains preserved as a shrine to the father who walked out on his family voluntarily and the daughter whose exit was anything but. “Without the vision and silent encouragement of [his] sister,” Quinn is ready to renounce his dreams of writing screenplays, yet he cannot help but view the world cinematically. The juxtaposition of Quinn’s scripted version of events with what actually occurs enables readers to experience the flawed goofiness of the real world while enjoying Quinn’s ideal of how it should be. In his first novel for teens, Federle (Better Nate Than Ever, 2013, etc.) crafts a poignant and thoroughly convincing portrait of a teenager who is acerbic and self-deprecating, astute enough to write piercing observations about his own life yet too self-involved to discern obvious truths about those closest to him. Quinn’s supporting cast of characters, both minor and major, are wonderfully flawed and nuanced, from Amir, the college boy upon whom Quinn has a crush, to Mrs. Roberts, who cannot bear to throw away her deceased daughter’s favorite junk food. Quinn’s epiphanies about his sister and himself are distinctively less cinematic than he would like them to be. The journey he takes to arrive at them, however, is hauntingly authentic and consummately page-turning.

A Holden Caulfield for a new generation. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: March 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0409-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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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A creative and compelling read.

A NEON DARKNESS

From the Bright Sessions series , Vol. 2

Robert can manipulate others—but he doesn’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse.

Following The Infinite Noise (2019), this Bright Sessions book tells the origin story of Damien, ne Robert, one of the podcast’s antagonists. When the book opens, Robert is an 18-year-old high school dropout and White boy with no family but all the material resources he could ever need. He has the power to make people do what he wants, or more accurately, to want the same things he wants. After arriving in Los Angeles, he falls in with a slightly older group of Unusuals with various powers who take him under their wing. Shippen combines an exciting plot with diverse characters—such as Neon, who is Black and queer, and Indah, who is Indonesian, Muslim, and lesbian—who defy stereotypes. As the group tangles with a shady organization that has kidnapped their friend, they also realize that the affection they feel for Robert might not be real. Robert’s emotional arc is interesting and unusual—he wants to be a good person, but he is selfish, manipulative, and unwilling to change. He is sympathetic while also being pitiful and contemptible and far too uncool to be an antihero. This may be the best Bright Sessions content yet as well as an excellent starting point for those unfamiliar with this world.

A creative and compelling read. (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-29754-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Tor Teen

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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