With the first anniversary of her mother’s death quickly approaching, 14-year-old Sofia finds herself full of questions with nowhere to turn for answers.
When a white teen-advice columnist visits her private NYC school, Sofia finds sending an anonymous email to a stranger is a lot easier than approaching her father in person. Soon the white girl is corresponding regularly with Dear Kate, the straight-talking source for teen girls. Sofia talks about her mother, boys, her changing body, and friend drama. And Kate seems to really care. But things get tricky when the mystery woman her father has been seeing turns out to be Kate herself. And they become even more difficult when Sofia meets Kate’s angry daughter, Alexa, and starts falling for a boy Alexa used to date. But good friends, including Vietnamese-Brazilian Kiki, and a devoted father help Sofia find her way through the maze of parties, hook-ups, and possible first love. The multicultural cast is led by the completely likable Sofia, whose mother was Spanish and whose abuelo’s comforting presence remains across the ocean. Her story has no fast, easy answers, but there is a clear message that while time does not necessarily heal, it helps. The advice of not to fall too hard, too fast, or too far is real, not preachy.
Complex characters and a strong voice make this one stand out. (Fiction. 11-14)