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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A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences.

MIDNIGHT SUN

From the Twilight series , Vol. 5

A long-awaited Twilight (2005) companion novel told from vampire Edward’s point of view.

Edward Cullen, a 104-year-old vampire (and eternal 17-year-old), finds his world turned upside down when new girl Bella Swan’s addictive scent drives a primal hunger, launching the classic story of vampire-meets-girl, vampire-wants-to-eat-girl, vampire-falls-in-love-with-girl. Edward’s broody inner monologue allows readers to follow every beat of his falling in love. The glacial pace and already familiar plot points mean that instead of surprise twists, characterization reigns. Meyer doesn’t shy away from making Edward far less sympathetic than Bella’s view of him (and his mind reading confirms that Bella’s view of him isn’t universal). Bella benefits from being seen without the curtain of self-deprecation from the original book, as Edward analyzes her every action for clues to her personality. The deeper, richer characterization of the leads comes at the expense of the secondary cast, who (with a few exceptions) alternate primarily along gender lines, between dimwitted buffoons and jealous mean girls. Once the vampiric threat from James’ storyline kicks off, vampire maneuvering and strategizing show off the interplay of the Cullens’ powers in a fresh way. After the action of the climax starts in earnest, though, it leans more into summary and monologue to get to the well-known ending. Aside from the Quileutes and the occasional background character, the cast defaults to White.

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences. (Paranormal romance. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-70704-6

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A slow-building tale of deception and struggle against societal bounds.

PRIDE AND PREMEDITATION

From the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A young woman intent on a position in her father’s law firm plays sleuth in this mystery reworking of Pride and Prejudice.

When Charles Bingley, head of a local shipping firm, is accused of the murder of his brother-in-law, George Hurst, Lizzie Bennet inserts herself in the case in an effort to prove her worth beyond her potential success in securing a respectable marriage. Mr. Darcy, Wickham, Mr. Collins, Jane, Charlotte, and the extensive cast of source characters all appear here, altered and with different roles though generally retaining their personalities and idiosyncrasies. Readers familiar with Jane Austen’s work will get the most from this novel, but even for those who aren’t, the book stands on its own as a solid, if at times plodding, whodunit. Though not a modernization, there are modern sensibilities at play, discussed by Price in an author’s note and expressed in passages about class and sex roles that are much more expository than the original. This style of telling rather than showing extends across Lizzy’s relationships with both Wickham and Darcy, though descriptions of the former are also happily peppered with dryly witty dialogue. Most characters are White; Charlotte is biracial, with a White father and Black mother from the West Indies.

A slow-building tale of deception and struggle against societal bounds. (Mystery. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-288980-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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