It’s not easy being weird in tiny Aunty, California.
Sixteen-year-old Montgomery Sole is used to being “a mystery object” to most of her high school peers. Being a Canadian with two moms and zero interest in celebrities, cars, or clothes makes her a frequent target of stupid, hurtful comments. That’s probably why she loves to obsess over inexplicable phenomena like ESP, lucid dreaming, and hypnotism with her equally weird best friends, Thomas and Naoki. Neither their beloved Mystery Club nor Monty’s new magic amulet (purchased online for a mere $5.99) is a sufficient distraction, however, when a famously homophobic evangelist moves into town and his son begins attending their high school. Tamaki, author of Caldecott Honor book This One Summer, illustrated by her cousin Jillian Tamaki (2014), balances the story’s lighter and more intense moments through Monty’s smart, forthright first-person narration. While Monty’s sardonic observations about her classmates are familiar teen fare, that doesn’t make them any less astute or amusing. Meanwhile, the well-developed and likable supporting cast raises the novel’s emotional stakes. Readers will empathize with Monty’s anger and fear when posters about saving the American family go up all around town, and Monty’s ex-crush finds new ways to prove he is a bully and bigot.
Offbeat and authentic—an uncommon treat. (Fiction. 13 & up)