A steamy, straight-to-Netflix teen romance.

KISSING LESSONS

A teen with a promiscuous reputation is hired for lessons on seduction and falls for her client’s brother.

Independent 18-year-old Hayden Vargas looks forward to leaving behind her judgmental high school classmates and neglectful mother to pursue her dream of becoming a tattoo artist. Every penny counts toward her dream, and when Emmaline Martin offers her money to teach her how to attract boys, Hayden struggles to turn her down. Popular classmate Nolan Martin has made it his mission to care for his family since his father’s death, so when he notices his younger sister, Emmaline, hanging out with Travis High School’s bad girl, he becomes suspicious and overprotective. But his attempts at intervention only result in him growing fonder of Hayden, who surprises him as she opens up. Points of view mainly shift between Hayden and Nolan but also focus, less frequently, on Emmaline and Beau—Nolan’s best friend, whose reputation at school mirrors Hayden’s. Despite cookie-cutter characterization, Jordan’s handling of themes surrounding teen relationships, such as the double standard of girls being sluts versus boys being players, is honest. The only kissing lessons involve girls practicing on one another at a sleepover, which later leads two of them to explore their mutual attraction. The sweetness of the happy ending does not make up for its abruptness, unfortunately. Characters are assumed white except for Hayden, who is cued as Latinx.

A steamy, straight-to-Netflix teen romance. (Fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-97707-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes.

FIREBORNE

From the Aurelian Cycle series , Vol. 1

What happens to the world after the dust from a revolution has settled?

Friends Annie and Lee were children from very different circles when Atreus killed Lee’s father, dragonlord Leon Stormscourge, ending the uprising on the bloodiest day in Callipolis’ history. For too long the dragonriders held all the power while their people starved and lived in fear. Nine years later, a new generation of dragonriders is emerging, children selected and trained on merit, not bloodlines. Their dragons are finally mature enough for them to compete for Firstrider, a position of power that can give Lee back a small part of what his family lost. However, not only is Lee competing against Annie, but rumors are circulating that some of the royal family have survived and have dragons of their own. Everyone will have to make a choice: Restore the old regime, support the First Protector and the new caste system he created, or look for a new way, no matter what the cost. From the beginning, this book pulls readers in with political intrigue and action. What keeps them invested, however, are the complex relationships between many cast members. Choices are complex, and the consequences for all could be deadly. The world is well fleshed out and believable. Annie and Lee are light skinned; secondary characters are diverse, and race is a nonissue in this world.

Full of drama, emotional turmoil, and high stakes. (author’s note) (Fantasy.14-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51821-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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