Something terrible happened to seventh-grader Louise’s parents, and only the kindly ministrations of an unknown admirer can pull her back from her insulating—suffocating—layers of denial.
Louise lives with her quirky grandparents, vividly depicted by Stone (The Romeo and Juliet Code, 2011) as they strive to relieve the girl’s obvious suffering. She’s given up gymnastics, turned away from most of her peers and cut herself off from the devastating truth of her past. But some friends continue to reach out to her, especially her overweight best buddy, Reni, and Reni’s tall seventh-grade brother, Henderson. After Louise discovers a note—“I am your biggest fan”—that seems to have been left by pizza–delivery boy Benny, she develops a shaky sort of crush on this all-but-unknown person. Her emotional fire is eagerly fueled by Reni’s frustration with her own safely unrequited fixation on Justin Bieber. The true identity of Louise’s biggest fan is gradually, achingly revealed, along with a gentle, loving exploration of the characters of these admirable, young teen protagonists. Readers of Louise’s self-deprecating, sometimes funny first-person account will figure out the terrible thing that has happened to Louise, and a young man’s role in her redemption, long before she does, just adding to the building suspense.
An outstanding tale of love, loss and the true power of friendship. (Fiction. 10-14)