cover image Does My Body Offend You?

Does My Body Offend You?

Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt. Knopf, $18.99 (442p) ISBN 978-0-593-42585-5

Living in Puerto Rico, 15-year-old Malena Malavé Rosario was a “natural leader” and “doer”; now, though, stuck in Florida with her mother following Hurricane María, she’s a “spectator,” missing home and her father. When a bad sunburn makes it painful for her to wear a bra, and school administration calls her in for attending class without one, she’s mortified—and initially taken aback as another student tries to come to her aid. White senior Ruby is low on personal boundaries but genuinely eager to help; having moved from Seattle to care for her grandmother, she knows what it’s like to feel out of place. The two begin organizing protests against the sexist dress code, sweeping up fellow students, including Malena’s cousin Carlos, a star baseball player with a crush on Ruby. Cuevas (Salty, Bitter, Sweet) and Marquardt (Flight Season) alternate first-person chapters, subtly taking up hot-button issues—not just unfair dress codes, but varying judgments for “a curvy brown girl” and “a twiggy white girl,” sexual assault, and the arrayed privileges and expectations the characters bring to the situation—in an energetic, thought-provoking story of friendship and girl power. Ages 12–up. Agents: (for Cuevas) Saritza Hernandez, Andrea Brown Literary; (for Marquardt) Erin Harris, Folio Literary. (Apr.)