The Calculus of Change

Jesse Hilb. Clarion, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-544-95333-8
Aden Matthews is love-struck by Tate Newman, who is in her calculus class, and he seems to like her back, even though he has a girlfriend. Their growing friendship is almost all Aden can think about, but readers quickly learn that her life is brimming with complications that go beyond unrequited love. Hilb packs her debut novel with enough serious subjects to fill multiple books: Aden still feels the absence of her mother 10 years after her death, her angry father hasn’t fully dealt with it either, her brother has a drug problem, her best friend is having an affair with a teacher, and there’s an attempted sexual assault, an unplanned pregnancy, and Aden’s body image insecurity, as well. Hilb layers one topic over another, yet her novel remains breezy, never really tackling them with much depth. Short chapters, framed around Aden’s memories and interactions, leap from one challenge to the next in a way that makes the story a fast, engrossing read, but one that doesn’t entirely do justice to everything it attempts to address. Ages 14–up. Agent: Renee Nyen, KT Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2017
Release date: 02/27/2018
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