GHOSTGIRL

The only place social-climbing wallflower Charlotte Usher seems destined to go is Loserville until she chokes herself to death on a gummy bear in physics lab and passes from the world of the living to dead. Even there, though, she’s dubbed a scrub by her fellow dead classmates. Longing to hook up with still-living crush Damen, she contrives a scheme with Scarlet, the über-cool goth-vintage-chic sister of Damen’s brainless, bombshell girlfriend. The pact: Scarlet agrees to let Charlotte possess her body to pursue Damen, and Scarlet gets to hang with the cool dead kids. Each of Hurley’s two lead heroines perfectly mirrors the other: One longs to be seen, one wants to disappear. Hurley attempts to flesh out their world in true Rowling-esque form, with side plots aplenty and a kooky slew of offbeat minor characters with mixed results; check out www.ghostgirl.com to get the full visual effect. Still, she beats out witty teen-speak like a punk-band drummer, keeping the narrative fast-paced and fun yet thought-provokingly heartwarming. Goofy, ghastly, intelligent, electrifying (Novel. YA)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-316-11357-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2008

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Necessary, important, honest, loving, and true.

YOU'D BE HOME NOW

A gut-wrenching look at how addiction affects a family and a town.

Emory Ward, 16, has long been invisible. Everyone in the town of Mill Haven knows her as the rich girl; her workaholic parents see her as their good child. Then Emory and her 17-year-old brother, Joey, are in a car accident in which a girl dies. Joey wasn’t driving, but he had nearly overdosed on heroin. When Joey returns from rehab, his parents make Emory his keeper and try to corral his addictions with a punitive list of rules. Emory rebels in secret, stealing small items and hooking up with hot neighbor Gage, but her drama class and the friends she gradually begins to be honest with help her reach her own truth. Glasgow, who has personal experience with substance abuse, bases this story on the classic play Our Town but with a twist: The characters learn to see and reach out to each other. The cast members, especially Emory and Joey, are exceptionally well drawn in both their struggles and their joys. Joey’s addiction is horrifying and dark, but it doesn’t define who he is. The portrayal of small-town life and its interconnectedness also rings true. Emory’s family is White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast, and an important adult mentor is gay. Glasgow mentions in her author’s note that over 20 million Americans struggle with substance abuse; she includes resources for teens seeking help.

Necessary, important, honest, loving, and true. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-70804-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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A great read offering entertainment, encouragement, and plenty to reflect upon.

SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND

A gay teen contends with time travel—and homophobia through the decades.

All Cuban American Luis wants is to be prom king with his boyfriend, but tiny upstate New York boarding school Antic Springs Academy, with its strict, Christian code of conduct, won’t even let them hold hands in public. After a disastrous prom committee meeting at which his attempt to make the event welcoming of queer couples is rejected by the principal, Luis gets quite literally knocked into the past—specifically, ASA in the year 1985. There he meets Chaz, a Black student who attended the school at the same time as Luis’ parents and who died under mysterious circumstances after being bullied for his sexuality. Luis now faces a choice between changing the past to help Chaz and preserving his own future existence. Fortunately, he has Ms. Silverthorn, a Black English teacher and beloved mentor, who offers him support in both timelines. The narrative explores the impacts of homophobia and being closeted, remaining optimistic without shying away from the more brutal aspects. Luis is a multifaceted character with an engaging voice whose flaws are confronted and examined throughout. The solid pacing and pleasant, fluid prose make this a page-turner. Luis’ boyfriend is cued as Chinese American, and his best friend is nonbinary; there is some diversity in ethnicity and sexuality in background characters, although the school is predominantly White.

A great read offering entertainment, encouragement, and plenty to reflect upon. (author's note) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0710-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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