Menon’s (When Dimple Met Rishi, 2017) sophomore effort is a charming and sophisticated rom-com that outshines her previous...

FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE

Aspiring filmmaker Twinkle Mehra fills her journal with entries addressed to her favorite female movie directors, among them Mira Nair, Sofia Coppola, Nora Ephron, and Ava DuVernay.

Shy, 16-year-old Twinkle received the journal as a gift from her unconditionally supportive (and highly eccentric) dadi, or paternal grandmother, who urged her to use it to express her innermost heartfelt thoughts. Twinkle navigates film school aspirations, which she believes are unattainable due to her working-class family’s financial situation; an unrequited crush on Neil Roy, a half white, half Indian boy who is the big man on campus; a changing relationship with her former best friend, Maddie Tanaka, who is now hanging out with a wealthy, cool crowd; and an unexpected and confusing relationship with fellow film geek Sahil Roy, Neil’s awkward and less-noticeable identical twin brother. Twinkle sees embarking on a project for a local film festival with Sahil as a way to become close to Neil, realize her romantic ambitions, and thus improve her social standing at school. When she begins receiving admiring emails signed only “N,” she assumes her mystery fan to be Neil; however, Sahil has long had his eye on Twinkle— and the true identity of her anonymous fan becomes a tantalizing mystery.

Menon’s (When Dimple Met Rishi, 2017) sophomore effort is a charming and sophisticated rom-com that outshines her previous outing. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9540-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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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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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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