Boy meets girl leads to a summer of first love in Durango and Terrones’ debut as co-authors.
Moving from bustling Chicago to quiet Buffalo Falls, Illinois, doesn’t exactly thrill 16-year-old Zeus. Summer turns out no better when his mother enlists him as a delivery boy for her struggling cafe. Now, the “proud Mexiwegian” (half Mexican, half Norwegian—Zeus is short for Jésus) teen is stuck pedaling through the sticky heat with his World War II–obsessed kid brother in tow. One fateful delivery sends him to the Hilltop Nursing Home, where he spots Rose, a Filipina piano prodigy whose mother is a nurse there. The pair soon hit it off, but inevitably, a complication arises: Rose may leave Buffalo Falls for music school in New York at the end of the summer. Durango and Terrones set up Zeus and Rose’s relationship in broad strokes, relying heavily on that familiar summer-romance trope—and Zeus’ often funny narration—to add some initial urgency. Alarmed by the limit on their time together, Zeus plans to make Rose’s summer an unforgettable one, with trips to a polka festival, a psychic, and the Chicago Art Institute. Meanwhile, he volunteers at the nursing home, getting chummy with some of its residents, starts a band, and receives questionable dating advice from a new friend. A late revelation attempts to raise both the stakes and some half-baked family drama, but the story nonetheless continues its dutiful march to an uplifting finale.
Delightful in the moment if ultimately unmemorable. (Romance. 13-17)