THE INTERN

An academic overachiever susses out her professional and romantic futures in this Australian import.

Josie—not quite 18 and full of an overachiever’s occasionally awkward, nervy energy—is dreading an unpaid internship at swanky Sash magazine. It’s just one day a week, so she gamely commutes from her sleepy suburb, staying two nights a week with her charming slacker cousin Tim and his butterflies-inducingly cute roommate, James. Braving the city crowds and her intimidatingly cool fellow interns in an outfit selected by her more stylish younger sister, Kat, Josie decides she must win the competition for the $5,000 the magazine is offering to the intern that exacting Editor-in-Chief Rae deems best of the semester. (Money is tight since her father abruptly left the family, and the winnings would help Josie and Kat’s financially stressed mother keep her head above water.) Josie’s gift as a writer and her guilelessly direct way with a bad-boy pop star launch her journalism career, but the consequences of a drunken night out almost ruin her, professionally and socially. In many ways, Josie is a fairly typical 17-year-old, considerate and selfish by turns, facing important questions about how to behave in her family, peer and collegial relationships. New friendships flourish, old ones evolve, and readers will cheer as their small-town heroine finds her way in the big (unnamed) city.

A solid, appealing debut. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7322-9705-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: HarperCollins 360

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story.

10 BLIND DATES

Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.

When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn’t thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents’ house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart—10 blind dates, each set up by different family members—she’s even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie’s dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie’s Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.

An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02749-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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An overall entertaining read.

THE PRETENDERS

From the Similars series , Vol. 2

In this sequel to The Similars (2018), tensions rise as the villains reveal a ploy to exact revenge on the Ten and their families and ultimately take over the world.

When Emma Chance returns to her elite boarding school, Darkwood Academy, for her senior year, things are different: Her best friend, Ollie Ward, is back while Levi Gravelle, Ollie’s clone and Emma’s love interest, has been imprisoned on Castor Island. More importantly, Emma is coming to terms with the contents of a letter from Gravelle which states that she is Eden, a Similar created to replace the original Emma, who died as a child. To complicate matters further, other clones—who are not Similars—infiltrate Darkwood, and Emma and her friends uncover a plot that threatens not only the lives of everyone they care about, but also the world as they know it. Hanover wastes no time delving right into the action; readers unfamiliar with the first book may get lost. This duology closer is largely predictable and often filled with loopholes, but the fast-paced narrative and one unexpected plot twist make for an engaging ride. As before, most of the primary characters read as white, and supporting characters remain underdeveloped. Despite its flaws and often implausible turns of events, the novel calls attention to larger questions of identity, selfhood, and what it means to be human.

An overall entertaining read. (Dystopia. 13-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6513-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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