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


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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A lushly written story with an intriguing heart.


From the Once Upon a Broken Heart series , Vol. 1

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26839-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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


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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