cover image Pinned


Sharon G. Flake. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-545-05718-9

Ninth-graders Autumn and Adonis are polar opposites. Academics don’t come easy for Autumn, especially reading, but she’s a killer wrestler and the only girl on the school team. Adonis was born without legs, but is self-confident, disciplined, and an exceptional student; he’s also kind of a jerk. She’s crazy about him anyway, but he wants nothing to do with her: “Nothing about her appeals to me. All those muscles. Not to mention her IQ. I’m sure it’s exceptionally low.” Flake (You Don’t Even Know Me) avoids tidiness, constructing two authentic, distinct voices that expose the strengths and flaws of both teenagers—Adonis is cerebral, conceited, and eloquent, while Autumn’s narration is openhearted and raw (“If grades was trees, mine would be the root.... Nobody did worse on this test than me”). The unflinching honesty with which Flake approaches her characters is what sells this story; the romantic tension and fiery back-and-forth between these headstrong teens and their respective efforts to make the most of their lives, only sweeten the deal. Ages 10–14. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Oct.)