AS EASY AS FALLING OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH

It’s easy to fall off the face of the Earth, as the affable 15-year-old Ry discovers when he misses his camp-bound train somewhere in Montana. It wouldn’t be so traumatic if his parents weren’t adrift in the Caribbean, his grandpa in Wisconsin hadn’t plunged into a sinkhole and all potentially helpful cell phones weren’t either dead, out of range or stolen by a green-hued jungle monkey. Ry’s efforts to get somewhere from the middle of nowhere form the core of this poetic, ebullient odyssey, Perkins’s first novel since her Newbery-winning Criss Cross (2005). Three tales in three-plus locales (and the occasional dog-centric comic strip) weave a playfully inventive, even suspenseful narrative peppered with colorful characters and close calls. Details of, say, a cactus lamp or a fly’s flight are vividly and often humorously described in a fresh, intimate, mostly third-person voice, frequently interrupted with almost conversational attempts to clarify and refine observations. A long, immensely enjoyable, curiously comforting ramble through an absurd-but-benign world, tellingly filed by the Library of Congress under “Adventure and adventurers—Fiction,” “Accidents—Fiction” and “Luck—Fiction.” (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-187090-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a...

THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY

Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. 

Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. 

The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises.

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THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

What would you do with one day left to live?

In an alternate present, a company named Death-Cast calls Deckers—people who will die within the coming day—to inform them of their impending deaths, though not how they will happen. The End Day call comes for two teenagers living in New York City: Puerto Rican Mateo and bisexual Cuban-American foster kid Rufus. Rufus needs company after a violent act puts cops on his tail and lands his friends in jail; Mateo wants someone to push him past his comfort zone after a lifetime of playing it safe. The two meet through Last Friend, an app that connects lonely Deckers (one of many ways in which Death-Cast influences social media). Mateo and Rufus set out to seize the day together in their final hours, during which their deepening friendship blossoms into something more. Present-tense chapters, short and time-stamped, primarily feature the protagonists’ distinctive first-person narrations. Fleeting third-person chapters give windows into the lives of other characters they encounter, underscoring how even a tiny action can change the course of someone else’s life. It’s another standout from Silvera (History Is All You Left Me, 2017, etc.), who here grapples gracefully with heavy questions about death and the meaning of a life well-lived.

Engrossing, contemplative, and as heart-wrenching as the title promises. (Speculative fiction. 13-adult).

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-245779-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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