Not exactly a perfect story. But it comes pretty close.

NOT EXACTLY A LOVE STORY

A late-night phone call turned bad…turns good.

After his parents’ quick divorce and his mother’s even quicker remarriage to his gym teacher, Mr. Buonofuoco, in 1977, 15-year-old, half-Italian/half-Jewish Vinnie Gold relocates from New York City to Long Island with his mother and Mr. B. The loner teen knows that Patsy, the “foxy blonde” next door, is out of his league, but after discovering her private number, he musters the courage to call her at midnight. His nervousness and bumbling, however, leave Patsy thinking he’s an obscene caller. The potential creepiness of the situation is not lost on Vinnie, and it fuels his desire to right his wrong and prove himself. So he calls back, and this time Patsy keeps listening—and even talking. With a shield of partial anonymity, their midnight repartee continues night after night, developing into an unusual romance that keeps Patsy guessing at Vinnie’s identity and Vinnie watching the school’s football star abuse her. In a first-person narration that ranges from humor and quirkiness to insecurity and anger, Vinnie struggles between two personas. Can he ever reconcile both selves and still keep Patsy’s interest? Even if Patsy doesn’t fall for Vinnie, readers will grow to love his vulnerability and sincerity. His parents’ evolving relationships echo his own maturation.

Not exactly a perfect story. But it comes pretty close. (Fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86783-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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A slow-burn romance but a burnout of a plot.

WILD IS THE WITCH

A young witch unintentionally releases a fatal curse in this frenemies-to-lovers romance.

The Foggy Mountain Wildlife Refuge on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is the perfect place for Iris Gray and her mother, who, as witches, have a special affinity for helping animals but keep their magic secret. College intern Pike Alder, who assists at the sanctuary, has an incredible talent for getting under Iris’ skin and freely expresses his intense dislike and mistrust of witches. When she reaches her boiling point with his arrogance, Iris comes up with a spell to work through her frustration. Unfortunately, her magic goes awry, and the curse that should have burned away without impact instead goes into an injured owl that takes flight, leaving the sanctuary behind. With Pike accompanying her for safety at her mother’s insistence, Iris sets out into the forest to find the owl; if it dies before Iris can reverse the spell, the curse could burn Pike alive. The Pacific Northwest rainforest setting is palpable as the two trek through the backcountry in search of the owl, and their banter moves the story forward as romantic feelings start to build. Unfortunately, Iris’ repetitive internal dialogue, always reminding readers of the stakes, lessens any tension and makes subsequent scenes feel inevitable. Characters are cued as White.

A slow-burn romance but a burnout of a plot. (Fantasy romance. 13-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72822-945-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

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RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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