Sometimes everything happens at the same time.
Gavin, Randi, Natalie, Trevor, and Scott are back following The Perfect Secret and The Perfect Score (2018, 2017), and, as previously, myriad topics of varying seriousness are addressed through the various characters’ points of view. Characters contemplate sports injuries, football strategies, and sportsmanship; having a female football coach and the accompanying sexism; maintaining friendships while experiencing budding romance; having a teacher who is pregnant; utilizing video and social media; being a target of bullying; supporting a friend; forgiving and helping someone despite their past negative behavior; having a hospitalized parent; being uninsured; overcoming racist attitudes; dealing with death and celebrating life; appreciating people without regard to their age; being assertive; helping others; achieving goals; raising money; and making a difference. This is a safe if not always realistic world, one where bad things may happen but most adults are accessible and helpful, people who misbehave tend to see the error of their ways, all are eventually open to reconciliation, difference is ultimately celebrated, and effort determines the ability to bring about positive change. While the sheer volume of issues prevents a deep dig into most of them, the characters (seemingly default white except for biracial Latinx Gavin) are appealing, and the various strands all come together in the end.
An accessible delivery helps this issues-driven novel go down. (Fiction. 9-12)