An intelligent, insightful, and utterly swoon-y coming-of-age story.

HANI AND ISHU'S GUIDE TO FAKE DATING

Pretending to like one another turns into something more in this charming take on love, family, and personal integrity set in Dublin.

The only two brown girls in their year, Hani and Ishu, while both Bengali, are hardly friendly—and worlds apart. Hani is Bangladeshi Irish and in with the popular crowd, her Muslim faith brings comfort, and she is out to her family as bisexual. Ishu is Indian Irish and a studious, prickly misanthrope; an atheist from a Hindu family, she’s queer and closeted. Being friendless and living in the shadow of her perfect older sister, Nik, are difficult for Ishu. Hani’s two White best friends, Aisling and Dee, make her feel like she must hide her true self or be rejected. When Nik announces, to their parents’ horror, that she’s leaving medical school and getting married, Ishu seizes the chance to score points by running for Head Girl. Meanwhile, Hani comes out to her friends, who disdainfully dismiss her bisexuality as theoretical. Distressed, Hani blurts out that she is dating Ishu—who agrees to go along with the ruse if Hani helps her become popular enough to win the Head Girl vote. Deception, reflection, revelation, and hard-won growth ensue. Jaigirdar’s layered exploration of the many identities and relationships that make up our messy, complex, lovable selves is handled with a deft touch against the background of a delightfully romantic storyline enhanced by perfect pacing and well-rounded characterization.

An intelligent, insightful, and utterly swoon-y coming-of-age story. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64567-257-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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The personal and the political intertwine in this engaging series opener.

DEFY THE NIGHT

The only effective treatment for the lethal fever that plagues Kandala is a potion derived from the rare Moonflower.

Medicine is allocated to each sector of the kingdom by the decree of King Harristan, but the supply is limited. Thieves, smugglers, and black marketeers are subject to punishment and execution overseen by the cruel Prince Corrick in his role as the King’s Justice. Like many in Kandala, Tessa Cade loathes the king and his younger brother for ignoring the plight of those who cannot afford treatment. With the help of her close friend Weston, the 18-year-old apothecary’s assistant steals Moonflower petals from the wealthy and makes potions to distribute among the poor. Soon after Wes is caught by the night patrol, Tessa is presented with an opportunity to sneak into the palace. She enters with the intention of taking a sample of the palace’s potent Moonflower elixir only to be captured and brought before Prince Corrick, who, Tessa discovers, might not be as heartless as she originally believed. The slow-burn romance—between an idealist with straightforward moral beliefs and a pragmatist trapped by duty—will keep the pages turning, as will the scheming of the king’s consuls and the rebellion brewing in the background. Tessa and Corrick are cued White; other characters’ skin colors range from beige to deep brown.

The personal and the political intertwine in this engaging series opener. (map, cast of characters) (Fantasy. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0466-1

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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An inspirational read.

THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES

A true story of faith, love, and heroism.

Stefania “Fusia” Podgórska longed for nothing more than to leave the rural Polish farm she was born on for the city of Przemyśl where her older sisters lived. At the age of 12, she did just that, finding a job with the Diamants, a family of Jewish shopkeepers who welcomed her into their lives. For three years they lived peacefully until the Germans dropped bombs on Przemyśl. The family struggled on as the war and anti-Semitism ramped up, but eventually, the Diamants were forced into a ghetto. Then 17, Catholic Fusia was determined to help them survive, even at the risk of her own safety, while also caring for her 6-year-old sister, Helena, after their family was taken by the Nazis for forced labor. Knowing the risks involved, Fusia made a bold decision to harbor Jews. As the number of people she sheltered increased, so did her panic about being caught, but she was determined to do what was right. Cameron (The Knowing, 2017, etc.) used Stefania’s unpublished memoir as well as interviews with family members as source material. She deftly details Fusia’s brave actions and includes moving family photographs in the author’s note. Narrated in the first person, the story highlights essential events in Fusia’s life while maintaining a consistent pace. Readers will be pulled in by the compelling opening and stay for the emotional journey.

An inspirational read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35593-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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