Secret Heart by Danielle Dreger

Secret Heart

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A high school musician embarks on a rocky relationship in this debut YA romance.

Avery Jennings, an out lesbian, faces big decisions in her senior year of high school, such as whether to participate in the school’s new Gay-Straight Alliance club, whether to go to the prom, and whether to move to Austin after graduation with her punk band, Detonate the Gazelle. But her biggest worry is her growing attraction to Madison, a popular, apparently straight girl who’s dating one of the school’s biggest bullies, and who also acts as a liaison between the student council and the Lion Pride alliance club. Avery isn’t good at hiding her feelings, but after a few embarrassing missteps, she realizes that Madison is also attracted to her; she’s just not ready to let the secret out yet. The two girls’ relationship is further hampered by Avery’s jealousy and uncertainty about the future and Madison’s fear of what others will think, but if they can overcome their concerns about being together, they could end up uniting the school in a brand-new way. They figure out their feelings to a playlist of rock and punk songs, compiled in a list for readers at the end. Most of the characters in this book are well-rounded and believable, and teenage readers who enjoy romances will likely find it entertaining. But no one who’s ever seen a rom-com, like the ones that Avery and her friend Scott like to watch (including the fictional Arbor Day, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper), will be surprised by any plot points or lines of dialogue here. Aside from the fact that the two main players are both women, the story is often formulaic and clichéd. For example, as always in high school dramas, adults play no part in the events, except for a few scenes in which Avery’s mom shows up to say things such as “Good luck at your show.”

A well-constructed but generic foray into the world of high school dating.

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9977659-1-5
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
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