An intelligent, insightful, and utterly swoon-y coming-of-age story.

HANI AND ISHU'S GUIDE TO FAKE DATING

Pretending to like one another turns into something more in this charming take on love, family, and personal integrity set in Dublin.

The only two brown girls in their year, Hani and Ishu, while both Bengali, are hardly friendly—and worlds apart. Hani is Bangladeshi Irish and in with the popular crowd, her Muslim faith brings comfort, and she is out to her family as bisexual. Ishu is Indian Irish and a studious, prickly misanthrope; an atheist from a Hindu family, she’s queer and closeted. Being friendless and living in the shadow of her perfect older sister, Nik, are difficult for Ishu. Hani’s two White best friends, Aisling and Dee, make her feel like she must hide her true self or be rejected. When Nik announces, to their parents’ horror, that she’s leaving medical school and getting married, Ishu seizes the chance to score points by running for Head Girl. Meanwhile, Hani comes out to her friends, who disdainfully dismiss her bisexuality as theoretical. Distressed, Hani blurts out that she is dating Ishu—who agrees to go along with the ruse if Hani helps her become popular enough to win the Head Girl vote. Deception, reflection, revelation, and hard-won growth ensue. Jaigirdar’s layered exploration of the many identities and relationships that make up our messy, complex, lovable selves is handled with a deft touch against the background of a delightfully romantic storyline enhanced by perfect pacing and well-rounded characterization.

An intelligent, insightful, and utterly swoon-y coming-of-age story. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64567-257-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre.

THE BEAUTIFUL

From the Beautiful series , Vol. 1

Forbidden love is tested by suspicion and murder in this latest addition to YA vampire lore.

Celine Rousseau, a French and Asian (mother’s exact origins unknown) seamstress, sails from Europe to America in hopes of leaving her shadowy past behind. En route, she bonds with Pippa, a white English émigrée, and both girls find refuge in an Ursuline convent. Celine’s talent as a couturier leads to a commission from Odette, a beautiful member of the opulent-yet-mysterious Cour des Lions, where students of the occult practice their craft unmolested. Before long, Celine is swept up in a world of mystical forces centering around Sébastien Saint Germain, an enigmatic aristocrat to whom she is irresistibly attracted. When a fellow convent member is found murdered, Celine suspects all her acquaintances, including Sébastien. The novel, wading into the waters of forbidden romance between teenage girl and hunky immortal vampire previously navigated by Buffy Summers and Bella Swan, feels less magical than it should despite the lush Victorian-era New Orleans setting. At times the mounting attraction between Bastien and Celine is told rather than shown, which makes the central relationship feel forced rather than organic and passion filled. Ahdieh (Smoke in the Sun, 2018, etc.) brings New Orleans vibrantly to life, particularly when exploring the complicated racial and gender restrictions of high society through main and supporting characters of mixed-race origin.

Sure to please fans of the author and of the vampire-romance genre. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3817-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends.

RED QUEEN

From the Red Queen series , Vol. 1

Amid a war and rising civil unrest, a young thief discovers the shocking power within her that sparks a revolution.

At 17, Mare knows that without an apprenticeship or job, her next birthday will bring a conscription to join the war. She contributes to her poor family’s income the only way she can, stealing from the Silvers, who possess myriad powers and force her and her fellow Reds into servitude. The Silvers literally bleed silver, and they can manipulate metal, plants and animals, among many other talents. When Mare’s best friend, Kilorn, loses his job and is doomed to conscription, she is determined to change his fate. She stumbles into a mysterious stranger after her plan goes awry and is pulled out of her village and into the world of Silver royalty. Once inside the palace walls, it isn’t long before Mare learns that powers unknown to red-blooded humans lie within her, powers that could lead a revolution. Familiar tropes abound. Mare is revealed as a great catalyst for change among classes and is groomed from rags to riches, and of course, seemingly kind characters turn out to be foes. However, Aveyard weaves a compelling new world, and Mare and the two men in her life evolve intriguingly as class tension rises. Revolution supersedes romance, setting the stage for action-packed surprises.

An inventive, character-driven twist breathes new life into tired fantasy trends. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231063-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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