Former best friends are forced to revisit the past after a life-or-death medical crisis.
At first glance, Janelle and Alyssa couldn’t be more different. Janelle is African-American, and for generations her family has been trying to save the world, one way or another. For her part, Janelle is leading the grass-roots relief efforts after a hurricane devastated their community. Homecoming queen Alyssa, who is white, leads the vapid mean-girl posse and cares more about fashion and her doting Asian-American boyfriend than anything else. Like oil and water, Janelle and Alyssa clash about everything, but things weren’t always this way; the girls used to be best friends. They seem destined to remain at odds, until one day Alyssa collapses and is rushed to the hospital. Soon it’s revealed that Janelle is the one person who can save Alyssa’s life. But will the former friends bury old wounds as the clock ticks on Alyssa’s chance of recovery? Told in Janelle’s infectious, unforgettable voice, this story about friendship, forgiveness, and race is timely and refreshing. Janelle is irresistible as a whip-smart, funny, woke teen who cares about her family, diverse group of friends, and community. A budding romance with her longtime crush, Mateo, who is Latinx, rounds out Janelle’s story.
At once poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, with stellar dialogue and a fast-paced narrative, this story reminds us of the beautiful but complicated nature of true friendships. (Fiction. 12-18)