A frank, engrossing examination of the ways society complicates young women’s burgeoning sexuality.

GIRL, UNFRAMED

A 16-year-old girl grapples with being objectified by men.

Sydney Reilly had a standout school year with her friends in Seattle; the thought of leaving for a summer in San Francisco with her famous mother, Lila, instills dread. She has a deep sense that “it” is about to happen—she isn’t sure exactly what, but something large that will change everything. At her mother’s ocean-view home, she’s alone with Lila and her new boyfriend, Jake Antonetti, a real estate agent–turned–art dealer. By turns needy and unavailable, Lila can seem more like the child than the parent. Syd hides out from Jake and Lila’s fights, wandering nearby beaches, where she meets and is immediately drawn to Nicco Ricci. Her desire for him feels all-consuming, and their relationship immediately triggers Jake, who views her virginity as something he must protect. Between Jake, the leering construction worker next door, and creeps in the city, Syd faces a barrage of unwanted male attention. Lists of courtroom exhibits prefacing each chapter provide clues to the climax. Syd thoughtfully processes her burgeoning sexuality and the ugliness that it breeds in men, tracing its effects back to her mother’s own experiences. Though the affluent backdrop provides little diversity, Syd’s story outlines important, uncomfortable experiences many girls face without either flinching or offering a picture-perfect ending. All major characters are White.

A frank, engrossing examination of the ways society complicates young women’s burgeoning sexuality. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2697-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Immersive and engaging, despite some flaws, and destined to capture imaginations.

CARAVAL

From the Caraval series , Vol. 1

Magic, mystery, and love intertwine and invite in this newest take on the “enchanted circus” trope.

Sisters raised by their abusive father, a governor of a colonial backwater in a world vaguely reminiscent of the late 18th century, Scarlett and Donatella each long for something more. Scarlett, olive-skinned, dark of hair and attitude, longs for Caraval, the fabled, magical circus helmed by the possibly evil Master Legend Santos, while blonde, sunny Tella finds comfort in drink and the embraces of various men. A slightly awkward start, with inconsistencies of attitude and setting, rapidly smooths out when they, along with handsome “golden-brown” sailor Julian, flee to Caraval on the eve of Scarlett’s arranged marriage. Tella disappears, and Scarlett must navigate a nighttime world of magic to find her. Caraval delights the senses: beautiful and scary, described in luscious prose, this is a show readers will wish they could enter. Dresses can be purchased for secrets or days of life; clocks can become doors; bridges move: this is an inventive and original circus, laced with an edge of horror. A double love story, one sensual romance and the other sisterly loyalty, anchors the plot, but the real star here is Caraval and its secrets.

Immersive and engaging, despite some flaws, and destined to capture imaginations. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-09525-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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