A friendship with a troubled classmate helps Macy confront the childhood sexual trauma she's kept secret for years.
Macy first met Sebastian when he moved to her suburban town in elementary school, but it's at her friend Rebecca's party many years later that Macy first gets the sense that Sebastian really sees her. Then, the next morning, Sebastian disappears; the rumor mill has it he's gone to the psych ward after a suicide attempt. Macy and Sebastian's brief but intimate conversation at the party sparks a series of changes in Macy: she starts visiting Sebastian in the hospital, she twists her blond hair into dreadlocks, and she begins—slowly, and not always voluntarily—to make sense of her past. Flashbacks—matter-of-fact, never graphic or sensationalized, and fraught with ambivalence—are handled particularly well. Each of Macy's current relationships is carefully imagined, each unique but shaped in its own way by Macy's past trauma. The downfall here is the dreadlocks. In an era in which teen literature is increasingly under fire for its lack of racial diversity, a blonde, presumably white character putting on a traditionally black hairstyle as a symbol of her own toughness and self-acceptance feels catastrophically out of touch.
A powerful story of healing undermined by its central symbol. (Fiction. 14-18)