cover image No Filter and Other Lies

No Filter and Other Lies

Crystal Maldonado. Holiday House, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4718-3

Maldonado (Fat Chance, Charlie Vega) once again displays her gift for portraying complex family dynamics and layered interiority in this bighearted sophomore novel about a teen photographer who finds herself weaving an increasingly tangled web of lies via a fake Instagram account. Despite possessing an excellent aesthetic sensibility and burgeoning photography skills, high school student Kat Sanchez has a “tragic” 209 followers on Instagram. But as she straightforwardly confides to readers, “no one’s checking for the life of a fat seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican girl who lives in Bakersfield” when “Instagram, the internet, and the world all seem to be made for beautiful thin white girls.” So on the heels of a bad day, Kat creates an account for Max Monroe, an L.A.-based influencer she manufactures using photos of her white coworker Becca (“the most model-looking person I know”), and decides not to delete it because of the reception—and a DM from a pretty girl with pale skin and pink hair. Maldonado’s writing has a warm and relatable feel, full of insight regarding societal expectations, accountability, and the need to belong within one’s own family and the wider world. An ultrasmart contemporary that fully understands what teens face in today’s social media–obsessed landscape. Ages 14–up. Agent: Tamar Rydzinski, Context Literary. (Feb.)