Historical fiction with heart.

HATTIE EVER AFTER

Plucky Hattie Inez Brooks, star of Hattie Big Sky (2006), returns to try to find her place in the world.

Having spent a year trying—and failing—to make a go of Uncle Chester’s Montana homestead, Hattie is now 17 and working at Brown’s Boardinghouse in Great Falls. She decides to “[throw] a lasso around a dream even bigger than a Montana farm” and heads to San Francisco, aiming to be a reporter like Ida Tarbell and Nellie Bly and do Grand Things. And though Charlie Hawley wants to marry her, Hattie fears that “saying yes to him was saying no to myself.” She needs to find her place in the world, a place she has concluded is “connected to the working end of a pen.” Larson’s prodigious research allows her to accurately recreate San Francisco between 1915 and 1920, and the city will come alive for readers as much as it does for Hattie, with crowds of people, clanging streetcar bells, the smells of China Town and 10-story-high skyscrapers. Readers will fall for this earnest, wide-eyed and strong-minded young woman who does indeed become a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, covering baseball, an airplane excursion and an earthquake and even interviewing President Woodrow Wilson.

Historical fiction with heart. (Historical fiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-385-73746-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Han’s impressive ear for and pitch-perfect reproduction of the interactions between not-quite-adult older teens make this an...

WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE SUMMER

Can teenage love ever be forever?

Isabel (Belly) from The Summer I Turned Pretty (2009) and It’s Not Summer Without You (2010) finishes up her freshman year at college somewhat unconvincingly committed to Jeremiah Fisher, one of the two brothers with whom she has spent summers since she was small. Isabel becomes furious to learn that Jeremiah had sex with another girl from their college in Cabo on spring break, but he wins back her affections with a grand gesture: a proposal of marriage. Caught up in the idea—she will plan a summer wedding! they will attend college as a married couple!—Isabel tries ignores her misgivings about Jeremiah, the appalled silence of her mother and her own still-strong feelings for Jeremiah’s older brother, Conrad. It’s both funny and believable when Jeremiah insists he wants to dance the wedding dance to “You Never Can Tell” from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Han gives a satisfying nod to wedding-planning fantasies even while revealing their flimsy basis for an actual marriage. A final chapter in 23-year-old Isabel’s voice reveals the not-so-surprising happy ending.

Han’s impressive ear for and pitch-perfect reproduction of the interactions between not-quite-adult older teens make this an appealing conclusion to this trilogy romance among bright middle-class young people. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 3, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-9558-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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