The almost-dystopian setting of post-flood Aberdeen makes a beautifully surreal setting, even if Keeley's journey can't...

THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD

When disaster strikes a working-class town, the class clown learns her coping mechanisms don't help anyone.

Keeley is completely psyched for her senior year in tiny, largely white Aberdeen. Unfortunately, after a spring so cold and wet that kids are wearing thermals and winter coats in May, the river floods, destroying many homes and closing the high school for good. As the worst of the floodwaters recede but the rains don't stop, the mayor and governor encourage the locals to abandon the town, offering hefty insurance payouts. Keeley's dad thinks the governor (who plans a profitable dam) intentionally keeps the town in poor repair. Maybe the conspiracy is real, but in a town of boarded-up shopfronts and saturated homes, what options does anyone have? Keeley, a jokester who always takes every joke that one step too far, ramps up her high jinks to distract her glum friends. Through a post-evacuation frame story and a seemingly endless collection of hinted-at mysteries, unreliable narrator Keeley escalates her increasingly bad behavior, alienating her best friend. The buildup is lovely, but the payoff of Keeley's growth comes both too late and too suddenly, happening all at once as Aberdeen's clock winds down. Nonetheless, it’s a richly layered portrayal of bad boys, girl pranksters, even conspiracies.

The almost-dystopian setting of post-flood Aberdeen makes a beautifully surreal setting, even if Keeley's journey can't quite carry the narrative . (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5229-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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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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An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story.

10 BLIND DATES

Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.

When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn’t thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents’ house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart—10 blind dates, each set up by different family members—she’s even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie’s dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie’s Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.

An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02749-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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