Annabelle is in total control of her life. She knows who she is and where she’s going….
Until author Lucy Keating speaks to Annabelle’s creative writing class and describes her new book, which doesn’t just resemble Annabelle’s life—it is Annabelle’s life, and the 17-year-old white girl is the main character. When Keating writes olive-skinned Hawaiian love interest Will into the story to shake things up with a love triangle, Annabelle finds herself pulled toward a boy she doesn’t want. Although he’s perfect—literally made for her—she’s in love with her longtime friend Elliot, a white boy with a history of serial girlfriends. Keating thwarts Annabelle’s every attempt to change her story. There’s only one thing to do: confront Keating and demand to be allowed to write her own story. Freed from Lucy’s pen, Annabelle discovers writing her own life isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Initially, the self-referentiality feels like a forced attempt at metafictive cleverness; however, as the story progresses, characters criticize tropes such as the love triangle, the one-dimensional best friend, and that lightning-sparked first meeting between young lovers. Keating’s storyline in the novel feels like wish fulfillment, and perhaps it is: her fictional counterpart has dozens of bestselling novels to her name, many of which have been adapted to film.
This festival of metafictive fun should particularly appeal to budding novelists. (Fiction. 13-18)