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LAST CHANCE DANCE by Lakita Wilson Kirkus Star


by Lakita Wilson

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 2023
ISBN: 978-0-593-52561-6
Publisher: Viking

A senior tries to get over an unexpected breakup by participating in her high school’s end-of-school dance for unfulfilled crushes.

With only three weeks left before graduation, Leila Bean is shattered when Dev Rajan, her boyfriend since freshman year, suddenly dumps her despite their previous plans to keep dating in college. Bree, Leila’s best friend, encourages her to sign up for Baldwin High’s Last Chance Dance, which matches seniors with up to three former crushes they never dated—if the interest is reciprocated—so they can decide whom to ask to their final dance. Leila, a Black bisexual girl, is surprised when she’s set up with all three of her picks: super fit social media influencer Kai, charismatic activist Mason, and beautiful book-loving Eva. There’s also an unwelcome, algorithm-chosen wild-card match: her snarky lab partner and nemesis, Tre’. Leila agrees to give each of her matches a chance except for Tre’, who she initially refuses to believe is a serious contender—until she realizes he’s more than just a class clown. Wilson’s part breakup tale, part rom-com isn’t just about falling in and out of love; it’s also a story about Leila’s rediscovering herself in the face of loss, learning from her mistakes, and giving people a chance to redeem themselves. Set in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a prosperous, predominantly Black suburb of Washington, D.C., the story mostly centers Black characters; Dev is Indian American, and Mason is White.

A charming and hopeful story about life post-heartbreak.

(Fiction. 12-18)