Authentic and artful.

London teens navigate crushes and family drama in this story that highlights making errors—and making amends.

Matilda Taylor isn’t happy that Grandad is moving in—there’s enough going on, and she’s sure they won’t be able to handle his Alzheimer’s. Tilly and best friend Teddy Booker are still processing the loss of their beloved mutual friend, Grace, three years earlier, when they were 13. On top of that, Tilly and Teddy don’t always feel like they fit in with their musical families: They aren’t creative and have no interest in pursuing careers in the arts. But when Teddy needs support with going after Katherine Cooper-Bunting, the girl he fancies, Tilly begrudgingly accompanies him to the community theater audition where Katherine will be. Unfortunately, when Tilly first lays eyes on Katherine, she’s smitten. Organized into three acts, this novel includes a sex-positive, will-they-won’t-they romance that follows Tilly’s desperate attempts to protect her friendship with Teddy while also harboring a secret crush. Against the backdrop of West End amateur dramatics, the delightful cast of characters provides pages of witty banter, swoony moments, and poignant scenes. Tilly and Teddy navigate their familial and grief-related traumas productively, and the mistakes they make are addressed seamlessly, with respect, and in a non-preachy manner. This sweet and serious story is perfect for fans of Alice Oseman. Main characters read white.

Authentic and artful. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780374314026

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023


There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013


From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

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