The best of friends chart new territory during their sophomore year.
Hailey and Lima have always been two peas in a pod, but the times they are a-changing. After Hailey loses her virginity to an anonymous beach bum over summer break, she's got nothing on her mind but school hottie Nate and hanging with the cool kids. Lima finds herself increasingly left behind, hanging with the so-called "dangerous" crowd to fill Hailey's absence. Complications grow even larger once it's made clear Nate's got a thing for Lima and couldn't care less for Hailey. Some of the drama may be contrived, but the novel's heart is in the right place: beating hard and fast as the author examines the implosion of a long-term friendship. The emotional jump from middle school to high school is handled expertly here, creating a strong platonic love story between the two girls. Less interesting are some of the tertiary characters: The cool kids and alternative kids are both drawn pretty thinly, but that's almost beside the point. The two groups are used as provocative bits of narrative tissue, needling both of the protagonists and eliciting emotional, intellectual and sexual awakenings. By novel's end, both young teens are closer to the women they will eventually become. Whether or not their friendship endures is up to readers to decide.
An emotionally rich coming-of-age love story. (Fiction. 14-16)