A wrenching, if logorrheic, epistolary portrait of a dysfunctional family.


Teenage sibs desperately search for ways to escape a toxic domestic situation.

When his big sister, Bea, disappears just two months before her Indiana high school graduation, leaving him without an ally at home against their passive aggressive mom and viciously abusive stepfather, 15-year-old Ezra oscillates between rage and terror—even after Bea emails that she’s (more or less) OK. Fortunately, Ezra can look to his boyfriend, Terrence, and other outside allies for support when the punishments and public scenes get to be too much. Bea has walled off everyone except her beloved little brother and has, it turns out, quixotically set out on a quest of her own…only to discover that their mother hasn’t been exactly straight about important elements of their family history. The authors frame this heartbreaking outing through emails of frequently monumental length and a relentless focus on either pep talks or event and relationship analysis. Perceptive readers who make it through the emotional wringer will encounter certain themes: that people and the reasons for what they do are rarely if ever simple; that adolescence can be scary but exhilarating (the solid, healthy bond between Ezra and Terrence being a case in point); and that seeing oneself clearly is a first step toward real change. Ultimately, Ezra and Bea come to understand that it’s better to be running toward the future than from the past. Ezra is White; Terrence is Black.

A wrenching, if logorrheic, epistolary portrait of a dysfunctional family. (authors’ note, resources) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-58099-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage.


From the Montague Siblings series , Vol. 3

Adrian, the youngest of the Montague siblings, sails into tumultuous waters in search of answers about himself, the sudden death of his mother, and her mysterious, cracked spyglass.

On the summer solstice less than a year ago, Caroline Montague fell off a cliff in Aberdeen into the sea. When the Scottish hostel where she was staying sends a box of her left-behind belongings to London, Adrian—an anxious, White nobleman on the cusp of joining Parliament—discovers one of his mother’s most treasured possessions, an antique spyglass. She acquired it when she was the sole survivor of a shipwreck many years earlier. His mother always carried that spyglass with her, but on the day of her death, she had left it behind in her room. Although he never knew its full significance, Adrian is haunted by new questions and is certain the spyglass will lead him to the truth. Once again, Lee crafts an absorbing adventure with dangerous stakes, dynamic character growth, sharp social and political commentary, and a storm of emotion. Inseparable from his external search for answers about his mother, Adrian seeks a solution for himself, an end to his struggle with mental illness—a journey handled with hopeful, gentle honesty that validates the experiences of both good and bad days. Characters from the first two books play significant secondary roles, and the resolution ties up their loose ends. Humorous antics provide a well-measured balance with the heavier themes.

An enticing, turbulent, and satisfying final voyage. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291601-3

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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Necessary, important, honest, loving, and true.


A gut-wrenching look at how addiction affects a family and a town.

Emory Ward, 16, has long been invisible. Everyone in the town of Mill Haven knows her as the rich girl; her workaholic parents see her as their good child. Then Emory and her 17-year-old brother, Joey, are in a car accident in which a girl dies. Joey wasn’t driving, but he had nearly overdosed on heroin. When Joey returns from rehab, his parents make Emory his keeper and try to corral his addictions with a punitive list of rules. Emory rebels in secret, stealing small items and hooking up with hot neighbor Gage, but her drama class and the friends she gradually begins to be honest with help her reach her own truth. Glasgow, who has personal experience with substance abuse, bases this story on the classic play Our Town but with a twist: The characters learn to see and reach out to each other. The cast members, especially Emory and Joey, are exceptionally well drawn in both their struggles and their joys. Joey’s addiction is horrifying and dark, but it doesn’t define who he is. The portrayal of small-town life and its interconnectedness also rings true. Emory’s family is White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast, and an important adult mentor is gay. Glasgow mentions in her author’s note that over 20 million Americans struggle with substance abuse; she includes resources for teens seeking help.

Necessary, important, honest, loving, and true. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-70804-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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