Lovely, Dark, and Deep

Justina Chen. Scholastic/Levine, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-338-13406-3
Everything begins at a bake sale. Viola is peddling red bean baos for a worthy cause, and chatting with an attractive boy, when she has a dizzy spell and faints. She wakes up in the hospital only to find out she has contracted a rare case of photosensitivity; her skin can no longer tolerate light. Viola’s life literally changes overnight: her wardrobe is replaced with special UVA protective clothing; she must always wear a hat, and even more humiliating, carry an umbrella; lights in the house are dimmed and covered. As her condition worsens, Viola fears her dreams of becoming a journalist and her hopes of pursuing a relationship with Josh, the boy she met at the bake sale, will dim like a setting sun. In a novel about love, disappointment, and fighting the odds, Chen (North of Beautiful) convincingly evokes not only Viola’s physical discomfort but also the emotional impact of living with an incurable disease. Viola’s parents’ despair, her sister’s frustration, and Josh’s fear that he will somehow bring harm to Viola are delineated equally well. No matter the darkness of the subject, Chen provides glimmers of hope as she reveals Viola’s battle to reclaim a form of normalcy. Ages 12–18. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 07/01/2018
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 978-1-338-13407-0
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