Two childhood friends struggle to preserve their relationship as it evolves into a romance amid a host of pressures in this remarkable illustrated work of contemporary fiction.
After her parents break up, her mother moves rebellious Lucy from New England to Atlanta. She returns just once a year to see her dad at Christmas, and it is during one such trip during her senior year of high school that this story begins. Beginning the novel as a third-person narrator is her best friend, Evan. The studious, dutiful only child in his tight-knit family, he is uncomfortable with changes in her appearance and demeanor, and their visit starts out shakily. At the halfway mark, the point of view switches, and Lucy quickly reveals the heartbreaking reasons behind her transformation. While the employ of the dual narrative is a current trend in teen fiction, it serves this particular tale—which so eloquently depicts how impossible it is to truly get inside the head of another—extraordinarily well. Interspersed throughout are both realistic illustrations and drawings of a comic strip being created by Evan and Lucy; these black-and-white, almost chibi-style panels form an effective parallel with the plot and appeal mightily on their own.
Compelling, honest and true—this musing about art and self-discovery, replete with pitch-perfect dialogue, will have wide appeal. (Fiction. 13 & up)