There’s much to appreciate in this teen soap with heart, even if it wraps up a little too neatly.

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THE GO-BETWEEN

The daughter of a Mexican telenovela superstar pretends to be a poor scholarship kid at a posh Los Angeles prep school.

In Mexico City, everyone knows Camilla’s A-list family: her mother, Carolina del Valle, is a paparazzi-besieged leading lady, and her father, Reinaldo, is a voice-over actor for Hollywood movies dubbed in Spanish. When the tabloids find out Camilla’s mom is on anti-anxiety meds, the family decides to temporarily move to Beverly Hills, so Carolina can work on her first English-language project: an American sitcom. At tony private school Polestar Academy, Camilla befriends Rooney, the sweet and talented African-American school chef—causing two classmates (one biracial, one white) to mistakenly believe Camilla is a low-income student—and the daughter of “a domestic.” Equally annoyed and amused, likable if naïve Camilla plays along with their misconceptions, since her mom is a maid…on television. A bottle blonde with designer clothes, Camilla never thought of herself as a person of color in her native Mexico, but pretending opens her eyes to how Latinos in the U.S. are treated and underestimated. There’s a well-researched authenticity to the author’s descriptions of everything from Mexican culture to couture clothing, but it’s the story’s exploration of stereotypes that makes it memorable. One misstep, however, is the romance, which is so light it’s ultimately unnecessary.

There’s much to appreciate in this teen soap with heart, even if it wraps up a little too neatly. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93095-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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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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