cover image Don’t Ever Change

Don’t Ever Change

M. Beth Bloom. HarperTeen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-203688-9

Little motivates high school senior Eva other than writing. “Nothing around here inspires me,” she complains when a teacher gently suggests that her writing lacks depth. Although Eva’s classmates and life in general bore her (something that bothers even her closest girlfriends), she determines to listen to his advice, so that her writing will benefit. She signs on to be a camp counselor and approaches this task, and her young charges, with a mixture of bemusement and the desire to transform them into smaller versions of herself; at one point, Eva passes out journals to the girls, who just want to play. The premise leaves the book wide open for self-reference, and Bloom (Drain You) takes advantage of those opportunities (“Even if sometimes I veer pretty close to being an Unlikeable Character, I’m at least aware of that fact,” Eva muses). Even so, Eva’s quizzical, observant, and slightly distant approach to her surroundings tends to sap the story’s momentum as Foster, a sweet fellow counselor and fellow writer, and Eva’s older sister, Courtney, do their best to help Eva shift her judgmental attitude into a more openhearted one. Ages 14–up. (July)