cover image Everything Within and In Between

Everything Within and In Between

Nikki Barthelmess. HarperTeen, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-297690-1

After 17-year-old Ri Fernández, who is Mexican American and white, finds a letter her grandmother had hidden away, revealing her absent mother’s location and desire to reconnect (“I’ve had a mom who wanted to be in my life all along. And Grandma never told me”), Ri, who could not read the Spanish-language letter without Google Translate, decides to transfer from French to Spanish class. The decision quickly sets Ri on a path of rebelliousness and introspection, leading her to meet up with her mother in secret, reject her Mexican grandmother’s push to assimilate, and reassess her closest relationships with fresh eyes. In Ri’s open, occasionally sarcastic first-person narration, Barthelmess (Quiet No More) examines identity, complicated intergenerational relationships, and the power of connection to one’s cultural heritage and community with sincerity and insight in this nuanced contemporary coming-of-age novel. Ri is an absorbing protagonist who’s allowed to mess up, reckon with the complexities of her identity and privilege, and grow on the page, and readers will find much to love in Ri’s journey as she sets out to define who she is and what she wants for herself. Ages 13–up. Agent: Sarah Gerton, Curtis Brown. (Oct.)