cover image Acting the Part

Acting the Part

Z.R. Ellor. HarperTeen, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-315788-0

Wanting to establish LGBTQ representation in the hit sci-fi TV show Galaxy Spark, lead actor Lily Ashton—a queer, white 17-year-old—advocates to canonize the romance between their character, Morgantha, and white 17-year-old costar Greta Thurmway’s character, Alietta. The showrunners grant this request, but when they also reveal a plan to kill off Alietta in the next season—“Bury your gays. They buried their gays,” Lily says—the duo take a show writer’s motorcycle for a joyride. The teens use the resulting media attention to deploy a fake-dating scheme, hoping that public investment in their pretend relationship will inspire the writers to revise the problematic arc. When increased scrutiny and Lily’s developing crush on Greta overwhelm, Lily escapes via video game Swordquest Online, and begins unearthing previously unexamined feelings regarding their gender identity. Through Lily’s persistence to improve working conditions for their castmates, Ellor (May the Best Man Win) adeptly centers Galaxy Spark’s script and crew to address themes of homophobia, misogyny, and white privilege. Lily’s gender identity exploration and relationship with Greta are rendered via earnest dialogue, making for an inviting tale of self-expression and discovery. Ages 13–up. Agent: Kaitlyn Johnson, Belcastro Agency. (Dec.)