Ariel has always been a straight-A student, but now it’s senior year.
For this overachiever, that means taking a kajillion AP courses, practicing violin, and making everyone think he’s a perfectionist to whom it all comes easy. But Ariel’s dream of Harvard begins to waver when he fails a calculus quiz. Thankfully, Amir comes to the rescue by agreeing to tutor him. Gay Amir is Pakistani Muslim, and bisexual Ariel comes from an observant Jewish family; the boys have been in the same school for years and their families are friendly, but it is only now that they really notice—and quickly fall for—one another. With AP exams approaching, college applications due, a violin recital and numerous family events looming—not to mention Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—Ariel begins to realize that effortless perfection requires quite a bit of effort after all. As their romance grows, Ariel finds himself unable to keep up with the various elements of his life: the stresses of school, romance, and family. Ultimately, he learns the importance of stepping back, seeking help, and admitting to weakness. Silverman (Girl Out of Water, 2017) writes a coming-of-age novel that will charm readers with its relatable and diverse characters, quirky storyline, and interweaving of faith, queerness, and the everyday lives of seniors navigating the pressures of college applications, grades, and relationships.
Heartwarming and engaging. (Romance. 14-18)