What if Cyrano were an eighth-grade girl in the 21st century?
Gracie Grant has a crush on popular AJ Rojanasopondist, but AJ likes Gracie’s best gal pal, Sienna Reyes. Gracie is a bit jealous upon hearing this news but soon decides sweet and adorable Sienna should be with AJ. The problem: Sienna is so unsure of what to text AJ, Gracie ends up doing it for her. As it turns out, text-AJ has a great sense of humor, one that is oddly absent in real life and is suspiciously like that of Gracie’s best guy friend, Emmett Barnaby. Who is really on the other end of the texts? Gracie is fabulously sarcastic and a little neurotic, her first-person narrative thoughts pinging and ponging across the pages. Gracie’s world is inhabited by a diverse group: Emmett is half-Filipino, half-Israeli; light-brown–skinned Latina Sienna speaks fluent Spanish; Gracie’s classmates are “every combination of race and size,” although Gracie herself is evidently white; and the school has a gender-neutral restroom. The sensitive subplot concerning Gracie’s deceased older sister weaves in and out of the main plot, never overshadowing it but enhancing it with sincere emotion until the concluding chapters pull everything together.
Hilarious and heartfelt. (Fiction. 12-15)