Three Austin, Texas, teenagers push the boundaries of death and friendship and discover how far they're willing to go to find meaning in their lives.
It can be hard for Stevie, a home-schooler, to make friends. That's partly why she's so close to her best friend, Sanger, and her cousin, Joel. When a new kid, Max, moves to the neighborhood, he's interesting enough for Stevie and Sanger to like hanging out with him. They even support him on his quest to fake his own death in 23 different ways. But the stakes are higher than they expect, and when Stevie realizes that Max has real problems, she worries that they're helping him go too far. It doesn't help that Stevie is diabetic and knows how scary it really is to come close to dying. A witty and emotional tale of friendship plus more, told against a background of alternative education and teen activism that explores the seismic differences in socioeconomics, partnerships, and family members. Stevie’s working-class and white; Max is preppy and Latino; and Sanger is well-to-do and bicultural—one of her moms is white, and the other is Japanese-American. Ormsbee writes with an occasionally tongue-in-cheek tone that manages to be authentically emotional while delivering a realistic picture of a population that rarely gets much scrutiny in fiction for young adults: home-schoolers. The smart, efficient language features dialogue that pops.
A sweet story told with intelligence, humor, and just the right amount of kissing. (Fiction. 13-18)