A suburban Vancouver teen wants to make her mark online.
After her cover of a Rihanna song goes viral following the lackluster performance of her beauty tutorials, queer, biracial (Danish/Asian Indian) Char Gill decides that devoting herself to her guitar and vocals will help jump-start her social media presence, even if it means abandoning other pursuits like the LGBTQ+ club at school. However, her school’s pack of mean girls targets Char’s social media and begins to troll her. Char discovers an app, SendLove, created to combat online bullying by drowning out hateful comments in a crowd of positive ones. Using the handle “Charming,” she strikes up an online relationship with the SendLove moderator, “Cinders.” Connecting through video conversations before meeting face to face, their relationship quickly becomes romantic. As Char becomes more involved with SendLove and Cinders, she takes stock of her life and does a self-designed internet detox. A companion novel, Cinders, details events from Ash’s (aka Cinders’) point of view. Ash is a presumably white teenager living with her stepfather and stepsiblings after her mother’s death. A talented coder, she invented SendLove as an entry for a badly needed college scholarship. The books address homophobia and heteronormativity, dysfunctional families, bullying—both face-to-face and cyber—and the pitfalls of social media with realism and care. The girls’ sweet romance helps each of them grow in confidence and learn to take emotional risks.
Engaging stories that fill a need for reluctant readers seeking positive, inspiring stories of same-sex relationships. (Romance. 12-18)