A pleasant romance hindered by some curious choices.

WHAT TO SAY NEXT

Opposites attract after tragedy strikes.

Autistic white teen David Drucker spends every lunch period eating alone. When Indian-American popular girl Kit Lowell joins him one day she’s just looking for a quiet place to sit. It’s been one month since Kit’s father, a white dentist, died in a terrible car accident, but Kit is still flailing. As the two teens get to know one another and eat lunch together each day, they find themselves bringing out their own best qualities. Slowly but surely, romance blooms. There’s a warmth and ease to their relationship that the author captures effortlessly. Each chapter alternates perspective between Kit and David, and each one is fully rendered. The supporting characters are less well served, particularly Kit’s first-generation-immigrant mother. There are two major complications in Kit’s story, both involving her workaholic mother, and the lack of development defuses some potential fireworks. The central relationship is so charming and engaging that readers will tolerate the adequate tertiary characters. Less tolerable is a late-in-the-game reveal about Dr. Lowell’s accident that shifts the novel’s tone to a down note that juxtaposes poorly with everything that came before. The author pulls out in the final few pages, but it still leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

A pleasant romance hindered by some curious choices. (Romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-53568-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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