Many novels for teens tackle too much, but Mills goes another direction, focusing on Sloane's family and new friends to the virtual exclusion of school, work, and what readers are told is her passion for singing.
Fortunately, these friends are smarter, wittier, and way better looking than your average crew. Vera is a social media maven and a lesbian with a girlfriend in college; her twin, Gabe, is best friends with Remy, who just broke up with Aubrey; and then there's Frank, who has presence and sanctions parties. Sloane's father is a well-known novelist who has written popular books that have been made into movies. Writer's block has resulted in the family’s move from New York to this Florida resort town. Fastening onto a TV prime-time soap opera about teen werewolves, he pulls everyone into the show and the fanfic universe surrounding it, resulting in occasional musings about writing. Sloane replaces Aubrey as Vera's bestie, and Remy asks for Sloane's help to understand the breakup. Sloane decides to right the wrong done to Gabe and Vera when their new, young stepmother gives away a meaningful painting done by their deceased artist mother, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. Obviously, it's not the plot that matters here, but the commentary on writing, art, friendship, love, and facing the future is always entertaining. In addition to Latino Vera and Gabe, Remy is described as dark-skinned; Sloane, Aubrey, and Frank seem to be white.
Mild in every way but language, this tale of privileged teens offers a fairly satisfying glimpse of an almost alternate universe in which mundane life can be ignored. (Fiction. 12-18)