A charmingly nerdy and romantic coming-of-age story.

THE WRONG KIND OF WEIRD

A high school senior finds himself at a romantic crossroads in a novel that mixes geeky content with Jane Austen.

Cameron Carson’s membership in Geeks and Nerds United, or G.A.N.U., a school club he’s in with best friends D’Anthony and Jocelyn, is a source of pride and joy and a big part of his identity. But Cam has a potentially explosive secret that may well shake the foundations of his social circle and perhaps even of the whole school: his clandestine summer fling with super popular student council president and theater snob Karla Ortega. But as senior year starts and he and Karla continue to hook up behind everybody’s backs while working together backstage on the school production of Pride and Prejudice, Cam starts to wonder if this is what he really wants—especially when he starts hanging out with Mackenzie, a new G.A.N.U. member. She has a penchant for snarky conversation and a shared obsession with all things anime. Ramos’ delightful novel oozes an energetic, all-encompassing love for geek culture (especially Dragon Ball) and Austen. The main cast is Black and Latine, and some central characters are queer. Cam’s romantic entanglements are developed upon the backbone of a story about identity, growth, and learning to connect with people across different sides of a school divide.

A charmingly nerdy and romantic coming-of-age story. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-335-42858-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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