Tough and determined foster kid Kate, whose winning and often funny narrative voice made Hot Girl (2008) come alive, returns for a slightly flatter sequel.
After losing her loving foster parents for reasons beyond their and her control, Kate is sent to live in a run-down group home in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Despite the other girls' instigating fights, Kate has her eye on the big picture (“No reason for me to pop off on these broads to gain respect. Been there, done that. Got me nowhere”). Still, her isolation makes her a target for Percy, the charming but controlling 19-year-old with whom Kate becomes involved. Their relationship unfolds almost as in an afterschool special on dating violence. Readers see warning signs (his purchase of a phone for her, persistent texting, ordering for her at restaurants), escalation and, ultimately, resolution, as well as a friend who names and observes the problem to give readers—though not immediately Kate—a framework for understanding what's wrong. It is Kate's pitch-perfect voice that raises the book above the level of a simple problem novel; once again, she is strong, vulnerable, witty and expressive in the face of misfortune and hostility.
An engaging follow-up with a worthy message. (Fiction. 12 & up)