A problematic lead character could leave this book struggling to find a mainstream audience.


In Gand’s debut novel, originally posted on Wattpad, two teenagers spar their way toward romance.

Elizabeth Blackburn is the new girl in school. Her goals are simple: be the top student at ritzy Star Lake High and fend off the attention of gorgeous, arrogant Vincent Richardson. Vincent has it all: He excels “in art, music, sports, and academics”; he’s also good-looking, wealthy and popular, and used to getting everything he wants. Elizabeth, whom he persists in calling “Liz” no matter how many times she tells him not to, throws him for a loop. Soon, she has passed him in every subject and stubbornly refuses to give him the time of day. And when she lets her hair down, she’s the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. He’s undeterred by rejection, and when she gives him a list of 10 reasons she won’t fall in love with him, he’s determined to eliminate them one by one, whether she wants him to or not. Romance starting as rivalry is a familiar premise but one that still resonates—the denizens of Wattpad rated the story highly—and Gand’s setup, giving Vincent 10 obstacles to methodically wipe out, has promise. Her prose is straightforward and readable, but Gand sometimes takes the bickering too far. Vincent’s persistence often crosses the line, forcing Elizabeth to physically fight him: “Elizabeth tried to push him away, but Vincent used his weight to keep her down.” Coupled with his violent tendencies (he gets in multiple fistfights over the course of the book, occasionally attacking other boys who dare to look at Liz), Vincent’s behavior comes off as rather predatory instead of romantic.

A problematic lead character could leave this book struggling to find a mainstream audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692223604

Page Count: 312

Publisher: WGPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2014

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Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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