AMELIA WESTLAKE WAS NEVER HERE by Erin Gough

AMELIA WESTLAKE WAS NEVER HERE

Age Range: 12 - 18
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Opposites attract in this story of pranks, justice, and hate-to-love romance.

Harriet Price and Will Everhart feel like they’re worlds apart despite being in the same year at the same prestigious girls’ private school. Harriet is well-off, a prefect, and a tennis champion obsessed with not rocking the boat. Will is fiery and rebellious, a middle-class student who resents the establishment. When they witness a coach yet again sexually harassing students, however, the duo surprise themselves and decide to team up to take action. Working secretly under the pseudonym Amelia Westlake, the pair starts with a series of school newspaper comics satirizing the school’s sexism and general complicity. They build momentum with larger-scale pranks that further their message, growing closer as they do so. As their hoax grows bigger and bigger, the two must decide what they’re willing to risk—friendships, girlfriends, expulsion—to further the legend of Amelia Westlake (and their relationship). Harriet’s and Will’s characterizations sometimes fall flat, and their alternating first-person narrations sound less distinct than might be anticipated. Their romance is well-paced and satisfying. Emotional abuse, heterosexism, and racism are all touched upon in the narrative but are secondary to the skewering of sexism and institutional hypocrisy. The majority of characters are white, although a prominent secondary character is first-generation Vietnamese-Australian.

Imperfect but empowering. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 21st, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-316-45066-9
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Poppy/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenNOTEWORTHY by Riley Redgate
by Riley Redgate
ChildrenMOXIE by Jennifer Mathieu
by Jennifer Mathieu