A perfectly acceptable beach read.

SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS

A girl who believes in astrology tries to follow her star chart to find her true love.

Wil’s mother, who died when Wil was 6, loved astrology. Missing her mom and remembering her lessons about the stars, Wil buys into it completely. When she receives a forecast that tells her she has a limited time to find her astrologically compatible true love, she sets out to do just that. She knows she is not compatible with Pisces. However, she can’t help being extremely attracted to Grant, whom she’s sure is the dreaded Pisces, instead of his brother Seth, a Sagittarius and therefore a perfect astrological match. Plus, Seth, born on the precise day that her chart specifies as the best match for her, clearly likes her. Wil and Seth begin dating, but Wil just can’t seem to stay away from Grant….Flustered, Wil dives ever more deeply into New Age magic, consulting a psychic and trying to attain enlightenment through yoga. Still, with some drama, it might all work out. Woods keeps her gossamer-thin plot light and breezy, well in tune with standard chick-lit romances, counting on astrology to distinguish it from its peers. Her characters, largely white, come across as likable, and the book’s major tension arises predictably from Wil’s own misunderstandings.

A perfectly acceptable beach read. (Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-53704-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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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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An inspirational read.

THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES

A true story of faith, love, and heroism.

Stefania “Fusia” Podgórska longed for nothing more than to leave the rural Polish farm she was born on for the city of Przemyśl where her older sisters lived. At the age of 12, she did just that, finding a job with the Diamants, a family of Jewish shopkeepers who welcomed her into their lives. For three years they lived peacefully until the Germans dropped bombs on Przemyśl. The family struggled on as the war and anti-Semitism ramped up, but eventually, the Diamants were forced into a ghetto. Then 17, Catholic Fusia was determined to help them survive, even at the risk of her own safety, while also caring for her 6-year-old sister, Helena, after their family was taken by the Nazis for forced labor. Knowing the risks involved, Fusia made a bold decision to harbor Jews. As the number of people she sheltered increased, so did her panic about being caught, but she was determined to do what was right. Cameron (The Knowing, 2017, etc.) used Stefania’s unpublished memoir as well as interviews with family members as source material. She deftly details Fusia’s brave actions and includes moving family photographs in the author’s note. Narrated in the first person, the story highlights essential events in Fusia’s life while maintaining a consistent pace. Readers will be pulled in by the compelling opening and stay for the emotional journey.

An inspirational read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35593-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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