by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
First sentence: “Right now, my parents think I’m sleeping on the couch at my best friend Ryan’s house, safely tucked into a suburban silence.”
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Release date: June 7, 2016
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: There’s illusions to sex (but none actual), some underage drinking, and lots of f-bombs. It’ll be in the Teen section (grades 9+) of the bookstore.
Mark and Kate have sat next to each other in Calculus all year, but it isn’t until a June night at the beginning of Pride week in downtown San Francisco that they actually see each other. Mark is suffering from heartbreak: he’s been in love with his best friend for years, but his best friend isn’t really comfortable coming out as gay. Kate is supposed to be meeting this girl, the cousin of her best friend, but her anxiety takes over and she’s bolted. Between the two of them, maybe they can figure out their lives, their future, and which direction to go from here.
The thing that impressed me most about this was that it was less about the romance — although there was romance — and more about how Kate and Mark developed their friendship. It was about them needing a change from their lives and finding something new in a new person, something that allowed them to become More than they already were. It was about them being there for each other, not romantically, but as a good friend. And it was about jealousy that we all feel when our friends do something new or something different without us, about how sometimes that’s the hardest part of growing.
I liked how it felt seamless between Kate and Mark’s parts; that characters who showed up in one part felt authentic in the other, how LaCour and Levithan balanced their character’s stories. And, as a cis-gender straight person, I was able to find things to relate to. Life really is universal.