High school girls kiss boys for fun without wanting anything more.
It may seem shallow to challenge your closest female friends—all cheerleaders—to kiss and walk away from as many boys as they can over spring break. In fact, it might seem even sillier that it becomes a contest, but readers can’t help but relate to Zae Monroe when she’s mad at the world. Catching your boyfriend sleeping with another girl would set anybody off, but Zae is particularly touchy because her parents are splitting up too. When Zae discovers her father left her family for another woman, she goes on a tear, bringing her friends along for the wild ride. It would be easy to dismiss this book as trite, but Higgins (The Great Pursuit, 2017, etc.) draws characters that are interesting and nuanced. Zae’s friends are girl power goals and a feisty handful of fun. Higgins has a deft hand with teen romance dialogue. Readers will find themselves rooting for Zae as she grapples with realistic issues surrounding her family, her future, and the many men in her life. The characters are refreshingly diverse, running the gamut of ethnicities and family structures: Zae’s race is unspecified, and in her circle of close friends, Kenzie is biracial (white and black), Lynn is Chinese-American, and Monica is Latinx.
A lighthearted high school romance that dives into the nature of men—as brother, father, and lover. (Fiction. 14-18)