SOMETHING LIKE POSSIBLE

An engaging but unevenly paced story about perseverance and solidarity.

A 15-year-old Minnesota girl knows exactly what she wants, but life is about to show her that there may be more than one way of getting there.

High-achieving Madison has a plan, specifically The Plan, mapped out in her Life Notebook, detailing exactly what steps she needs to take to reach her dream of becoming a political campaign manager. First, she needs to successfully manage the campaign to get Jade, her girlfriend, elected as their school’s next junior class president, which will help her earn a scholarship to attend the Youth Politics Boot Camp, which will in turn increase her chances of getting into her dream college, Georgetown. However, Madison’s plans are thrown off course when Jade both dumps and fires her. Determined to keep moving ahead, Madison quickly finds a promising new candidate in kind and intriguing Victoria. As the relationship between Madison and Victoria shows signs of budding into something more, everything seems to be falling back into place. But when Madison discovers a sexual harassment scandal within her school, she will once again have to fight to maintain control of her future. The supportive friendships between the multiple queer characters are endearing and refreshing. However, the pacing of more serious plot points feels unbalanced, with little time given for readers to become invested in and then digest these important events and themes before the story wraps up. Main characters are White.

An engaging but unevenly paced story about perseverance and solidarity. (resources) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 23, 2023

ISBN: 9781250845818

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

GIRLS LIKE GIRLS

A searing romance.

Two girls wounded by their past relationships grapple with the undeniable intensity of their feelings for one another in this novel based on the pop-star author’s popular song and music video.

Seventeen-year-old Coley, who is White and Japanese, braces for impact as a minivan hurtles toward her in a parking lot. The crash never comes, but in that moment, she and fierce Sonya, beautiful with her tan skin and dark hair and eyes, collide. Horrible circumstances brought Coley to small-town Oregon; after her mom’s suicide, she’s raw with grief and stuck living with the dad who abandoned her when she was 3. Wealthy, competitive dancer Sonya feels no less trapped. Afraid of rejection and loneliness, she buries her true self to appease her perfectionist mother and the demanding ex-boyfriend who refuses to let her go. Unspoken attraction pulls Coley and Sonya together, but the masks they wear to protect themselves from their pain create a barrier that may keep them apart. Set in the summer of 2006, the novel alternates Sonya’s public and private LiveJournal posts that reveal her side of the story with Coley’s first-person narration. Sharp, poetic prose heightens the emotional and romantic drama. References to early 2000s pop and alternative music in Sonya’s posts create a playlist that sheds more light on her feelings. Coley demonstrates satisfying character growth as she opens up to herself and others. Apart from Coley, most characters are presumed White.

A searing romance. (content note) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 9781250817631

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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