cover image One Lonely Degree

One Lonely Degree

C. K. Kelly Martin. Random House Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (243pp) ISBN 978-0-375-85163-6

When 15-year-old Finn's childhood friend Jersy returns to town, Finn is instantly attracted to him but says nothing as he gets together with her best friend, Audrey. Audrey is almost too good to be true, providing an endless supply of sympathy for Finn's complaints about her parents' fighting. Audrey is also Finn's cheerleader as Finn tries to work up courage to talk to her crush and deal with the aftermath of an ugly incident in which a popular senior tries to force Finn to perform a sexual act. When Audrey leaves town for the summer, Finn can no longer fight her attraction to Jersy, which turns out to be mutual. The connection built between Jersy and Finn doesn't feel strong enough to convince readers that Finn would betray Audrey, and the story of Finn's parents' breakup drags. Finn is easy to relate to, with her doubts and inner voice that critiques her every social interaction; however, as a romance and family drama, the story comes up short. Ages 14-up.