Love Somebody

Rachel Roasek. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-374-38896-6

In this thought-provoking contemporary Cyrano de Bergerac reimagining that leans into social media’s dark side, debut author Roasek brings a sapphic twist to the false suitor trope. Actor Sam Dickson, 17, chafes at the thought of being a nobody, intent on leaving Worcester, Mass., to make it big as “the next Emma Watson.” When her best friend and ex-boyfriend, 17-year-old Christian Powell, develops a crush on classmate Rosalyn Shew, an arts critic who just panned Sam’s one-act play, Sam agrees to help, manipulating social media to make the soccer star seem more palatable to the prickly intellectual. But while texting on Christian’s behalf and feeding him the right lines, Sam develops unexpected feelings toward the girl she initially considered an enemy. Meanwhile, Ros lowers her own emotional defenses while exploring the true meaning of love for a school presentation. Sam’s morally dubious hobby of serially catfishing and ghosting people on dating apps (“It’s not like I’m doing any lasting damage,” she justifies) sets her up as someone ripe for personal growth, but it may not sit well as a means to manipulate—and engage in—romance. While the story starts off slowly, with a trio of flawed, white-cued protagonists navigating familial situations, it eventually develops into an enjoyable romance as the three come into their own. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Jr./Folio Literary. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
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