An entertaining novel about personal issues and relationships unfolding during a wild vacation break.

CAN'T SAY IT WENT TO PLAN

It’s Schoolies Week, when Australian teens celebrate high school’s end.

Zoë, Samira, and Dahlia are off to the coast with their respective friends to celebrate their exams being over. Academically inclined Italian Australian Zoë plans to stay at a big hotel. At the last minute, her conservative mother forbids her to go, but she runs off anyway. Lebanese Australian Samira has lots of friends and a serious boyfriend, and she’s worked hard at her family’s bakery to earn money for the luxurious trip, complete with beach house, adventurous activities, and a plan to consummate her relationship on her birthday. But she gets a rude awakening when Zain dumps her, and her friends reveal their true colors. Her week is saved when she meets a zany trio of pop-star groupies from the house next door. Dahlia, who reads as White, is still mourning her best friend Stevie’s death. She’s staying at a hostel with two female friends, one of whom turns into something more. The three protagonists, unknown to one another, occasionally meet around town, mostly enjoy their week of partying—and even consider their plans for the future. Using a plot structure of alternating voices and day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour, updates, this realistic novel about teen angst and fun will appeal to those looking for something light with a serious underpinning.

An entertaining novel about personal issues and relationships unfolding during a wild vacation break. (Fiction. 13-17)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4607-6063-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperCollins 360

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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Part exciting adventure, part thoughtful coming-of-age novel, this story retells and overturns familiar tropes.

SIX CRIMSON CRANES

From the Six Crimson Cranes series , Vol. 1

Girl meets magic. Hijinks ensue.

Shiori’anma, Princess of Kiata and eldest daughter of Emperor Hanariho, is the intrepid protagonist in this folktale retelling. About to turn 17 and be married off to a third-rank barbarian lord, Shiori desperately looks for ways out of the engagement. Her emerging talents in forbidden magic and a run-in with a young shape-shifting dragon help to pass the time before she is doomed to relocate to the cold North. Things take an even worse turn, however, when she uncovers her stepmother’s secrets. As a consequence, her six brothers are cursed into assuming the form of cranes by day. Shiori is whisked away and coerced into silence, for every word that escapes her lips will mean the death of one of her brothers. She must learn to survive on her own and use her wits and hard-won experience to save both her family and country. Readers here revisit the East Asian–inspired world established in Lim’s The Blood of Stars duology. Despite a few hiccups in the logic of the magic, the author cleverly maintains the basic structure of this well-known European folktale type while weaving in rich elements of Asian mythology, including dragon pearls and the goddess of the moon. The exploration of complicated family dynamics is a particular strength, especially the challenging of the evil stepmother cliché.

Part exciting adventure, part thoughtful coming-of-age novel, this story retells and overturns familiar tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 13-17)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30091-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 2

Lara Jean's romantic entanglements complicate themselves further.

In the wake of the events detailed in To All the Boys I Loved Before (2014), Lara Jean confesses her love for handsome golden boy Peter. This frees the pair to start a romantic relationship with a clean slate, but over the course of the novel it becomes clear that embarking on a relationship that turns an aggressive blind eye to baggage is never a good idea. When a viral video of a steamy love session between Peter and Lara Jean rears its ugly head and a boy from the past enters Lara Jean's life once more, Lara Jean's life gets complicated. Every character from Han’s adored previous novel is back, with new dimensions given to nearly every one of them. Subplots abound, among them two involving Lara Jean's father and Peter's ex-gal Genevieve, but benefitting most from this second look is John Ambrose McClaren, a boy briefly referenced in the former book who is thrust into the spotlight here as Peter's rival for Lara Jean's heart. With all these characters bouncing around, Han occasionally struggles to keep a steady hand on the novel's primary thrust: Lara Jean’s emotional development. Han gets the job done in the end, but this overeventful sequel pales to the original where structure is concerned. The author's greatest success remains her character work, and the book does indeed give everyone a solid arc, narrative be damned.

A satisfying if slightly lesser sequel. (Romance. 13-17)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2673-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2015

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