ANXIOUS HEARTS

The tragic tales of two pairs of lovers weave in and out in this tale based on a hoary classic. One plotline retells Longfellow’s “Evangeline,” from the third-person point of view of Gabriel, as he woos, weds and loses his beloved in the 1755 deportation of the Acadians. The second is the first-person narration of Eva, a present-day teen who has fallen for Gabe, an angst-ridden version of the earlier Gabriel, though Shaw has inexplicably moved the action from Canada to northern Maine. Where Gabriel is dragged away from his sweetheart, Gabe leaves more willingly; his motivation for doing so is hazy. Eva is left to try to figure out where he has gone and why. Though she heads off to a work-study program downstate, she never stops searching for him, a role reversal since Gabriel does most of the seeking in his version. Hackneyed dialogue, superficial character development and the failure to fully capture the setting all diminish this effort. It may appeal to romance readers in need of a fix but is unlikely to entertain a broader audience. (Romance/historical fiction. 11 & up)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8718-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 25

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

THE BOOK THIEF

When Death tells a story, you pay attention. Liesel Meminger is a young girl growing up outside of Munich in Nazi Germany, and Death tells her story as “an attempt—a flying jump of an attempt—to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.” When her foster father helps her learn to read and she discovers the power of words, Liesel begins stealing books from Nazi book burnings and the mayor’s wife’s library. As she becomes a better reader, she becomes a writer, writing a book about her life in such a miserable time. Liesel’s experiences move Death to say, “I am haunted by humans.” How could the human race be “so ugly and so glorious” at the same time? This big, expansive novel is a leisurely working out of fate, of seemingly chance encounters and events that ultimately touch, like dominoes as they collide. The writing is elegant, philosophical and moving. Even at its length, it’s a work to read slowly and savor. Beautiful and important. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: March 14, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83100-2

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more