School Library Journal
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Gr 9 Up-Maxie, 16, is surprised when Roddy Nash turns up in her chemistry class. They were pals back in grade school, when they collaborated on elaborate mousetrap designs, with Roddy inventing and Maxie drawing the diagrams. She distanced herself from him during sixth grade, when she was called a "fag hag" for being friends with him. Roddy left school after being brutally attacked by bullies, and she hadn't seen him since. Now he's back, and though he now calls himself Rick, he still attracts the same negative attention. Maxie finds herself liking Rick, but soon discovers that dangerous waters lurk beneath his surface. Meanwhile, her cousin, Sean, is having a secret relationship with a popular boy who has yet to come out. She also feels alienated from her best friend, who has become a stoner snowboarder. While Maxie's voice captures the insecurity and wish to fit in that color the adolescent years, other characters come across as one-dimensional. This book is strongest when dealing with Maxie's questions about how she should pick her friends, but tries to cover too many topics in too few pages, bringing up issues like bullying, coming out, violence against gays, white privilege, racism, child abuse, school violence, and drug use. While some of the themes are addressed more fully than others, many subplots are not satisfactorily resolved by story's end. Maxie's cartoon doodles appear throughout.-Natasha Forrester, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.