Cancer is so inconvenient.
It would be challenging to find a more self-obsessed 12-year-old than Josephine, whose dithering over an upcoming birthday party takes precedence over everything in her life—including her mother’s upcoming mastectomy. Josephine’s twin, Chance, decides to support his mother by dyeing his hair pink, setting off a new wave of panic for Josephine, who doesn’t want anyone, even her best friend, Makayla, to know about her mom. The flailing continues as Josephine debates going to spirit night, where Autumn will ask boys to her birthday party (OMG), and rejects a support group for kids whose parents have cancer (no way!). Josephine’s fear of attention is equally linked, by her, to unwanted scrutiny after her parents’ divorce and an unhappy sixth-grade romance (the shame of it all!). A crush on Chance’s friend Diego is just too much for a girl with the resilience of a fruit fly. To helm her tepid plot, Pyros has created a solipsistic main character who fails completely to capture readers’ empathy. Set in New York’s Westchester County, the story will leave them more annoyed with Josephine than they are with either cancer or divorce. Makayla is black, and Diego is Latinx; other characters, including Josephine and her family, are default white.
Only a girl with the depth of a bowl of soup could blow off everyone who loves her while complaining that no one gets her. (Fiction. 12-14)