Another rote romantic tragedy.

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MIDNIGHT SUN

A girl with a rare genetic condition that forces her to hide from the sun falls hard for a boy the summer after graduation.

In first grade, not long after her mother’s death, Katie Price was diagnosed with XP, or xeroderma pigmentosum. It’s a severe sensitivity to sunlight that leads to skin cancer and a painful death if she has any exposure to the sun. She lives a limited life, sequestered at home with her father, socializing with her only friend, sleeping during the day, and doing online schooling at night. But the solar shades blocking the UV light from her windows can’t stop her from noticing her crush, Charlie Reed, as he passes by. One night, Katie takes her guitar to the train station—a passionate musician, she longs for a larger audience than just her father. As fate would have it, Charlie is at the station, too. Soon, the two embark on the romance Katie had only dreamed of, meeting at night and exploring their small town. The problem is, she can’t bear to tell him about her illness, and it’s only a matter of time before he finds out. The romance is cloyingly sweet; Charlie’s perfection knows no bounds. Katie’s illness is often mentioned but its daily effects are rarely detailed, making it seem a distant threat, until, predictably, it isn’t. All characters are presumed white.

Another rote romantic tragedy. (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-47357-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Poppy/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

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This story is necessary. This story is important.

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THE HATE U GIVE

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school.

Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil’s death becomes national news, where he’s called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr’s best friends at school. The police’s lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil’s death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr’s natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family.

This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-249853-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality.

I'M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT

Two teenage girls—Lena and Campbell—come together following a football game night gone wrong.

Campbell, who is white and new to Atlanta, now attends the school where Lena, who is black, is a queen bee. At a game between McPherson High and their rival, a racist slur leads to fights, and shots are fired. The unlikely pair are thrown together as they try to escape the dangers on campus only to find things are even more perilous on the outside; a police blockade forces them to walk through a dangerous neighborhood toward home. En route, a peaceful protest turns into rioting, and the presence of police sets off a clash with protestors with gruesome consequences. The book attempts to tackle racial injustice in America by offering two contrasting viewpoints via narrators of different races. However, it portrays black characters as violent and criminal and the white ones as excusably ignorant and subtly racist, seemingly redeemed by moments when they pause to consider their privileges and biases. Unresolved story arcs, underdeveloped characters, and a jumpy plot that tries to pack too much into too small a space leave the story lacking. This is not a story of friendship but of how trauma can forge a bond—albeit a weak and questionable one—if only for a night.

An unpolished grab bag of incidents that tries to make a point about racial inequality. (Fiction. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7889-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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