A WHITE ROMANCE

A much-honored author succeeds brilliantly at a new task—telling it like it is at an inner-city magnet school, where black Talley's best friend is white Didi Adair, in love with a drug addict. Told from Talley's point of view, in a style graced with the inflections of Black English, the story has high enough interest to carry readers through any difficulties posed by a structure that makes heavy use of flashback. Didi has fallen for Ready, literally, in the school corridor, so dramatically that both are suspended. Talley, in the habit of meeting Didi at Roady's place, is often embarrassed to find them in bed, Ready more, or usually less, coherent. Here Talley meets David, white and totally charming, who seduces her in a lengthy, beautifully written scene. The reader realizes before Talley does that David is a pusher, not all bad but not to be trusted; his interest is physical, but he is Talley's first love, and when he casually betrays her it is heartbreaking. She's lucky: Victor, a black school leader, is waiting in the wings; and neither she nor Didi has been tempted by drags—caring, they have been involved only through loving the victims. There are likely to be arguments about the larger meaning of what these characters mean to each other; meanwhile, they're vivid and plausible. The tenseness of their world, where danger is everywhere—in their neighborhoods, at school where the new mix of students threatens violence, in Roady's painfully loud music (a rock concert provides another unforgettably described scene)—is precisely evoked. Hamilton demonstrates that a popular YA novel can also be a serious literary work of beauty, complexity and depth.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1987

ISBN: 0590130056

Page Count: 191

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987

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An engaging, fast-paced story let down by character development.

I KISSED SHARA WHEELER

A romance with solid queer representation set against the backdrop of an Alabama Christian school.

Chloe Green is the only one who sees through Shara Wheeler’s goody-two-shoes act, and now that Shara’s pulled a disappearing act right before being crowned prom queen, she makes it her business to find her. This means teaming up with unlikely allies like Smith Parker, Shara’s jock boyfriend, and Rory Heron, the brooding boy next door, both in love with Shara, just as Chloe claims she is not. What brings the trio together is a series of notes Shara has left them, along with the awkward fact that she kissed all three of them before vanishing. McQuiston’s YA debut starts off as a fun page-turner with a rich cast of queer characters but ultimately disappoints with its predictable plot twists and protagonists whose journeys feel lackluster. In a story that uplifts the importance of friendship and found family, the main character’s tunnel vision and indifference toward her friends’ problems make for an ending that doesn’t feel earned. Rather than coming across as a complicated but earnest love interest, Shara feels superficial and narcissistic, raising the question of why so many people drop everything to pursue her. Shara and Chloe are White; Rory has a White mom and Black dad, and Smith is described as having dark brown skin. Bisexual Chloe has two moms.

An engaging, fast-paced story let down by character development. (author’s note) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24445-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre.

SHATTER ME

A dystopic thriller joins the crowded shelves but doesn't distinguish itself.

Juliette was torn from her home and thrown into an asylum by The Reestablishment, a militaristic regime in control since an environmental catastrophe left society in ruins. Juliette’s journal holds her tortured thoughts in an attempt to repress memories of the horrific act that landed her in a cell. Mysteriously, Juliette’s touch kills. After months of isolation, her captors suddenly give her a cellmate—Adam, a drop-dead gorgeous guy. Adam, it turns out, is immune to her deadly touch. Unfortunately, he’s a soldier under orders from Warner, a power-hungry 19-year-old. But Adam belongs to a resistance movement; he helps Juliette escape to their stronghold, where she finds that she’s not the only one with superhuman abilities. The ending falls flat as the plot devolves into comic-book territory. Fast-paced action scenes convey imminent danger vividly, but there’s little sense of a broader world here. Overreliance on metaphor to express Juliette’s jaw-dropping surprise wears thin: “My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps. My eyebrows are dangling from the ceiling.” For all of her independence and superpowers, Juliette never moves beyond her role as a pawn in someone else’s schemes.

Part cautionary tale, part juicy love story, this will appeal to action and adventure fans who aren't yet sick of the genre. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-208548-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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