Slingshot

Mercedes Helnwein. Wednesday, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-25300-2
Dark-haired, blue-eyed, and pale-skinned Floridian sophomore Grace Welles, almost 16, is certain that her biology teacher, Mr. Sorrentino, is her soul mate, even though he’s both 20 years her senior and engaged. Firmly rejected by Mr. Sorrentino and subsequently disillusioned, heartbroken Gracie returns from holiday break to her “almost-but-not-quite-prestigious preparatory boarding school,” Midhurst. There, she can nearly forget her lovelorn 34-year-old mother, whom Gracie calls “delusional,” and her older absent father in Beverly Hills, for whom Gracie and her mother are a second, secret family. When she rescues new student Wade Scholfield from senior bullies using her childhood slingshot, her prickly loner life is upended. In patient, dark blue–eyed skateboarder Wade, Gracie finds a true friend who accepts her flaws—but, as their friendship gives way to mutual attraction, she soon falls into the chaos of love and lust. Through a contemporary narrative that feels curiously grounded in the 1990s, Helnwein frankly conveys the joy, fear, and awkwardness of an all-consuming first love, poignantly depicting Gracie’s growth: particularly the hard-won knowledge that she can exist “just by the sheer force of herself,” and the grace she learns to show herself and others. Ages 13–up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 04/01/2021
Release date: 04/27/2021
Genre: Children's
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