Quiet yet powerful, complex, and grounded in the reality that nothing will ever be completely resolved.

THIS PLACE IS STILL BEAUTIFUL

When their home is targeted in a racist attack, two sisters must deal with the aftermath and consequences.

Nineteen-year-old Margaret and 17-year-old Annalie Flanagan both grew up in the same Illinois town, raised by their Chinese mother after their Irish American father left when they were young. Despite these shared experiences, it often seems like they couldn’t be more different. While Annalie wants to blend in and keep her head down, Margaret keeps finding new causes to champion and new wrongs to right. People constantly comment on how they don’t look alike, as Margaret appears more Asian. When Margaret leaves for college in New York City, Annalie finally has the chance to live outside her sister’s shadow, until a racist incident brings Margaret back to town. As the sisters grapple with what it means to be mixed race and Asian American in a largely White Midwestern town, when to speak up, and whose expectations they should meet, they also struggle to navigate their relationship with each other and the ways in which they are different—and similar. About much more than just racism toward Chinese Americans, this novel deftly tackles the precarious moments surrounding the end of high school and the beginning of college, when romantic and familial relationships are complicated, changing, and all-consuming.

Quiet yet powerful, complex, and grounded in the reality that nothing will ever be completely resolved. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308602-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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    Best Books Of 2014

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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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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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