From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Teens expecting a run-of-the-mill romance are in for a surprise with George's (Looks, 2008) smart, multilayered novel told in alternating viewpoints. Fifteen-year-old Jesse, a lesbian, cares deeply about political matters and plasters NOLAW (National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos) manifestos around school. Popular, shiny-haired Emily has been with her boyfriend, Michael, since eighth grade, but on Tuesday afternoons Jesse and Emily meet in the third-floor library bathroom to make out. For Jesse, the kissing becomes her first and last name, her only skill, the reason she was born, but Emily can never let the secret get out. To complicate matters, the girls find themselves on opposite sides of a heated debate about a new superstore that is threatening local business. Jesse's third-person chapters feel richer and more three-dimensional than Emily's somewhat bland first-person accounts. Still, the complexities of navigating love, politics, and taking a stand Sometimes you have to sacrifice something you love, if you don't want to lose everything you have ring completely true. George concludes with tips for how teens can make a difference.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
It doesn't make sense that radical 15-year-old Jesse-who plasters her high school's walls with "Normalcy is Death" manifestoes-could be smitten with buttoned-up student council v-p Emily. It makes even less sense that Emily, who has a steady boyfriend, has reciprocal feelings for outspoken Jesse. But when the two girls meet in secret, all reason flies out the window ("Kissing Emily is literally the best thing Jesse has ever done. In her life. There is no feeling more right or perfect"). In a frank and funny account of opposites attracting, George (Looks) provides remarkable insight into teenage romance, alternating between the girls' perspectives as she conveys their uncertainties and traces their growing political awareness. When Emily and Jesse end up on opposite sides of a heated battle to keep big business out of the community, Emily manages to keep her conflicting interests compartmentalized, but the pressure is getting to Jesse. Rather than offering easy answers about love, lust, and politics, George recognizes teenage vulnerabilities and promotes taking a stand. Strong, empathetic characterizations and whip-smart writing make this a seriously enjoyable read. Ages 12-up. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 8 Up-Jesse and Emily make an unlikely couple. Emily is vice president of the student council, filled with school spirit, and has been dating her boyfriend since the eighth grade. Jesse is the daughter of liberal, political activists and has been out of the closet since she was 14. In spite of their wildly different social circles, the two girls find themselves embroiled in a passionate affair that takes place every Tuesday in the bathroom in the public library. Jesse feels ashamed, like a "bad queer," because of her willingness to keep their love secret, but Emily will only consent to staying involved if no one knows. When a huge corporation tries to move into town, using sponsorship of high school events as an inroad, Jesse and Emily find that they are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, which only accentuates the gulf that exists between them. The novel is told from alternating perspectives, with a third character, Esther, entering the mix after Jesse meets her in detention. Esther is an activist herself, whose admiration of Joan of Arc motivates her to spend her time on the worthiest of causes regardless of how she is seen by others. As she and Jesse become friends, Jesse begins to see that her relationship with Emily may not be the healthiest. The characters are vivid, there are some very funny scenes, and the desire Jesse and Emily feel for each other jumps off the page, transforming mere minutes of stolen time into lingering daydreams of young love. Readers of Julie Ann Peters, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sarah Zarr, and Sarah Dessen will welcome this addition to collections of realistic fiction.-Nora G. Murphy, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, La Canada-Flintridge, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.