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NO FILTER AND OTHER LIES by Crystal Maldonado


by Crystal Maldonado

Pub Date: Feb. 8th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4718-3
Publisher: Holiday House

Kat wants to be wanted and liked for her true self, but failing that, she will settle for having a desirable alter ego.

Kat Sanchez—fat, Puerto Rican and White, 17—has complicated relationships but finds an emotional outlet in photography. However, her Instagram account sees little engagement, even from people who know and supposedly care about her. Kat’s place of creative escape is just another venue for feeling disconnected and rejected—until she creates a fake account using photos she took of a co-worker who has sworn off social media. Blond, beautiful Max, Kat’s alter ego, quickly gets lots of likes and even connects with a fellow creator, pale, blue-eyed, “fat femme” Elena, who also calls Southern California home. Kat knows her burgeoning relationship needs to be built on an honest foundation, but the allure of getting likes and the risk of losing face make it difficult. As her online lie inevitably crumbles, Kat is forced to become more open, honest, and real in her IRL relationships. Kat’s struggle for authenticity with her family and friends, not to mention her own sense of self, sparks important questions about what is valued and what is truly valuable. Maldonado’s willingness to let Kat be unlikable at times and to embrace a bittersweet and complicated ending highlights the need for nuance and grace in the stories we tell about ourselves and others.

As with social media, the real story here requires digging beneath the surface, and it richly rewards the effort.

(Fiction. 13-18)