A highly readable though flawed twist on the classic star-crossed lovers plot.

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LIKE NO OTHER

Sparks—both romantic and cultural—fly when Hasidic Devorah and Jaxon, the son of West Indian immigrants, meet on a hospital elevator stuck between floors during a hurricane.

This chance flirtation fans a tiny flame of doubt into a wildfire. Devorah knows she doesn’t want to live out her parents’ vision of the future: a highly circumscribed yet loving life of faith and family in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Devorah begins lying to her parents and sneaking around their rules to spend more time with Jaxon, falling for him hard and thinking that a relationship with him would help her avoid entering an early, arranged marriage and inevitable motherhood. But her suspicious, holier-than-thou brother-in-law, Jacob, seems intent on catching Devorah in the wrong. Meanwhile, Jaxon thrills to the romance of their shared secret, laboring over a heartfelt mix CD and devising detailed plans for a date that won’t break the rules of sabbath. The novel is by no means perfect: Jacob’s villainy is positively clichéd, and the number of factual missteps throughout (by tradition, Devorah would not have been named for a living grandmother and would never call that grandmother a shiksa, for example) render the narrative troubling and unreliable. The story is most successful in the scenes between the protagonists and their respective families, which readers will note are more similar than they are different.

A highly readable though flawed twist on the classic star-crossed lovers plot. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59514-674-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

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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