Like The Young Landlords who found themselves responsible to the diverse elderly tenants of a rundown tenement, Myers' latest group of wholesome early teenagers spends a summer helping out at a neighborhood old-people's home. This time, the service is a sentence imposed by a juvenile court judge after narrator Steve (the book is his journal) is caught spray-painting a fictitious gang name on a subway car. (The other three sentenced with him were on hand, and eager abettors.) Steve has perpetrated this uncharacteristic, spur-of-the-moment "vandalism" to impress his new trial brother, Earl, a 13-year-old offender (armed robbery at eleven, for starters) whom Steve's parents have virtuously decided to adopt. And so the story chronicles both Steve and Earl's bumpy progress toward becoming brothers—while Steve's parents learn that noble gestures are not that easily rewarded—and the four kids' growing rapport with, and respect for, the old people, who are hostile at first and prickly about being thought helpless. They also insist on being called "seniors": "If I called you 'colored' instead of 'black' does that make a difference to you? You claim the right to define yourself in your own terms. Well we claim the same right." At the home, there are several such mini-lectures from the seniors; a couple of astutely staged and motivated fights among the kids; and a great united effort to earn money to keep the home in operation. (It fails, alas, because—a typical Myers message—the city welfare bureaucracy punishes initiative.) And meanwhile, back at their own home, there's a funny scene when Steve and Earl try to cook an octopus; some offstage soul-searching by the parents, who aren't sure about keeping Earl; and a sentimental heart-tugger at the end when Earl officially joins the family. Another of Myers' winning, medium-cool raps in the service of good old-fashioned values.

Pub Date: May 3, 1982

ISBN: 014032612X

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1982

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

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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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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.


After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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