Big-town girl stuck in a small-town world full of lies falls for another girl.
Astrid's parents moved both her and her sister away from their New York City home years ago to a small town symbolically called Unity Valley. Since then her mom has drunk the society Kool-Aid, and her dad takes mental vacations in the garage to smoke weed. Astrid doesn't feel like she fits in anywhere. Two friends keep her sane: her closeted BFF, Kristina, and Dee, a star hockey player she met while working for a local catering company. Sparks fly between Astrid and Dee, causing Astrid to feel even more distanced and confused. Meanwhile, Kristina and her boyfriend/beard Justin use Astrid as cover for their own same-sex sweethearts, adding more fuel to the fire. King has created an intense, fast-paced, complex and compelling novel about sexuality, politics and societal norms that will force readers outside their comfort zones. The whole town—even the alleged gay characters—buy into the Stepford-like ideal, and King elegantly uses Plato’s "Allegory of the Cave" to help readers understand life inside and outside of the box. Only Astrid knows what she wants. She’s in love with Dee, but she's not sure if she’s a lesbian. She’s ignoring all of the labels and focusing on what she feels.
Quite possibly the best teen novel featuring a girl questioning her sexuality written in years. (Fiction. 14 & up)