Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Amy Spalding

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-4197-3866-1
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

The friendship of two girls, best friends since kindergarten, unravels during their senior year of high school.

Kat, whose mother died two years ago, lives with her father. James (named after her father) lives with her mother and father—but her parents are heading toward a divorce. Both girls are also experiencing the ending of relationships with their boyfriends. Despite both dealing with absent mothers and broken hearts, the girls’ paths forward are quite different and lead to the end of their friendship. At the root of their breakup is how honest the girls are with themselves and with each other: useful topics for any teen to consider. Over the course of the year, Kat discovers she is bisexual. The subplot of her relationship with her girlfriend, Quinn, is handled smoothly, without hand-wringing on anyone’s part. In fact, LGBTQ rights take an unexpected central role as classmates start a fight for them to be crowned “prom couple.” James and Kat each tell their version of senior year’s challenges in alternating chapters. Kat’s story is told moving forward while James’ story is told in reverse. At times this helps to maintain suspense, but it also proves annoying, as motivations remain murky until the end. Set in Burbank, California, the book features seemingly white protagonists; diversity in secondary characters is indicated through names.

A good exploration of the heartbreak of losing a friend—and learning about oneself in the process.

(Fiction. 13-18)