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A searing take on sexuality better suited to an adult audience.

A Los Angeles private school student and social media it girl discovers feminism and queerness.

Lulu Shapiro has 10,000 followers on Flash, a Snapchat-like platform, thanks to a scandalous video that was never supposed to go public. She embraces her quasi-fame, giving the followers what they want with sexy snaps of her life while keeping a wall up around her closest IRL friends. When Lulu meets Cass, a fellow private school girl who’s adjusting to her family’s recent wealth, she finds herself drawn to the pretty redhead as well as to Cass’ best friend, Ryan Riggs, an up-and-coming teen real estate scion whose older brother dropped out of high school to found Flash. Lulu and Cass develop a friendship that quickly becomes more at The Hotel, a Riggs family building where phones are not allowed. But just as Lulu, who previously only kissed girls at parties, wonders if she is ready for more, Ryan reveals a nasty surprise that has Lulu questioning the implications of a life lived online and the possessive nature of the male gaze. Romanoff’s (Grace and the Fever, 2017, etc.) writing is compelling and her subject matter timely, but the novel’s arch, jaded voice doesn’t quite ring true for its teen characters, sophisticated as they are. Lulu is white and Jewish, and Cass and Ryan are cued as white; there is ethnic diversity in secondary characters.

A searing take on sexuality better suited to an adult audience. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-5255-5426-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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