Family, first love and the search for identity butt heads in this coming-of-age story set in the heat of a Manhattan summer.
Seventeen-year-old Montana looks forward to bonding with her sister, Arizona, and her best friend, Roxanne, both of whom have just returned from their first year of college. Montana’s hopes are dashed when Arizona comes home with a boob job, and her friendship with Roxanne is compromised by Roxanne’s Montana-less college life. Feeling left behind by the two people who know her best, Montana seeks friendship and sisterhood with Karissa, a 23-year-old bohemian and aspiring actress with a tragic past. When Montana meets Bernardo, a hipster boy sporting a scarf and thick black-framed glasses, she falls pink-hair–over-heels in love, but with her plastic-surgeon father freshly divorced from wife No. 4, she doesn’t exactly have a positive role model for romantic bliss. Character development is strong: Although Montana spends most of the novel attempting to reinvent herself to suit what she thinks other people want her to be, she learns to accept herself and her life as they are, complete with imperfections and uncertainty.
This summer read has the ubiquitous quirkiness that has become a marker of contemporary adolescent realism and will appeal to fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. (Fiction. 15-18)