Intensely shy, 16-year-old Comet Caldwell hates her name: She is nothing like a comet.
The white Edinburgh, Scotland, teen hides in her room, writing poetry and reading. Her self-absorbed parents generally ignore her, and at school, she is either bullied or made to feel invisible. When not in school uniform, she expresses her creativity through an eclectic mix of vintage clothes. Comet attends poetry readings but never dares to read her own work. Her friends Vicki, who is of white and black Caribbean descent, and Steph, who is pale and blonde, are fully developed characters who are staunchly loyal and sympathetic. Comet narrates her story in the first person, riddled with self-doubt and fear of real or imagined pitfalls and dangers. Enter the new American boy, Tobias, and everything begins to change in tiny, tentative increments, as with many backward steps, she questions her worthiness of their growing love. Further complications ensue when Tobias’ cousin, Stevie, facing devastating problems of his own, becomes involved with a dangerous gang, leading to heartbreaking tragedy. Young (The Impossible Vastness of Us, 2017, etc.) understands the young lovers and describes their physical relationship gently and tenderly. Events twist and turn, revealing much about the multilayered realities of modern teens. Readers will sometimes be frustrated with Comet, but they will also laugh and cry with her and cheer her on.
A powerful roller-coaster ride of emotions and self-awareness. (Fiction. 14-18)