Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe is obsessed with getting into college but buckles under the pressure to load up on AP credits, take the SATs, get college applications done, and look perfect on paper. After she has a breakdown, her doctor’s orders are to slow down, stop pushing herself so hard, and use the summer for a break. Viviana initially resists, but her best friend Sammie persuades her to work with her at the community pool for a summer of fun and boys. Kottaras (How to Be Brave) uses test-taking tips to frame each chapter, as well as essay-style explorations of Viviana’s backstory (on her relationship with an ex who leaked a private photo of her: “Analyze the reasons that these activities emerged... and assess the degree to which Viviana succeeded in ruining both her social and personal life”). Yet as Viviana becomes less single-minded about her college future, these frames feel less relevant, distracting from what’s really a complicated family drama about living with betrayal and learning how to open oneself again to love. Ages 12–up. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/19/2016 Release date: 11/01/2016 Genre: Children's
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