Former best friends (and crushes) rediscover each other on a backpacking trip in Bennett’s (Alex, Approximately, 2016, etc.) charming romance novel.
It’s the summer after junior year, and anxious, risk-averse Zorie Everhart uncharacteristically agrees to join popular classmate Reagan and her friends on a luxury glamping vacation in northern California, figuring she can still manage to meet up with fellow astronomers to witness a meteor shower on a nearby mountain. On the day of departure, Zorie realizes with dread that her neighbor Lennon Mackenzie is going too. Zorie (who’s white and being raised by a Korean-American stepmother) and Lennon (who has two white moms and an Egyptian-American biological father) were once inseparable but haven’t really talked since the incident at homecoming when he broke her heart. Lennon—a horror fanboy, amateur herpetologist, and music aficionado—turns out to also be a veteran hiker. When irresponsible behavior and a night of emotional confrontations leads the group to abandon the pair, they take a multi-day journey to reach the star-gazing party by themselves. The two have lots of literal and figurative ground to cover, and eventually resolve and move past old hurts. The author authentically explores serious subjects such as grief, betrayal, divorce, and loss—but there’s also plenty of humor, geeky asides, and a healthy portrayal of consensual sex between mature teens.
A sweet and surprisingly substantial friends-to-more romance. (Fiction. 14-18)