Lu Charles, the love and dating columnist for the popular online teen magazine Misnomer, struggles to write her next piece.
And losing her writing gig would mean losing her scholarship to attend New York University in the fall. But since being dumped three weeks earlier, Lu has been suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. So, like every clichéd aspiring writer, Lu turns to eavesdropping on people’s conversations for inspiration. Her efforts lead her to the charming, hipster glasses–wearing Cal and his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, Iris, who is practically perfect in Lu’s eyes. Fascinated by the couple’s joint decision to break up before heading off to college, Lu becomes the ultimate third-wheel-by-choice, planning to follow them around and document their final moments together for her column. But as she grows closer to Cal and Iris, she continually fails to meet her editor’s deadlines, wastes time she could be spending with her best friend, Pete, before summer ends, and avoids confronting the pain she clearly still harbors from her recent breakup. There is a valuable and John Green–esque lesson on love in here, but readers are forced to wade through Lu’s denial and self-centeredness until she understands it herself. Lu, though fed Italian food daily by her mother, is Filipina, as is her ex-boyfriend, Leo. Iris is Latinx, and other major characters are white.
The just-right ending despite the monotonous plot makes this one skimworthy at best. (Fiction. 14-18)