cover image World Made of Glass

World Made of Glass

Ami Polonsky. Little, Brown, $16.99 (280p) ISBN 978-0-316-46204-4

Set in 1987, this short, emotionally charged novel by Polonsky (Spin with Me) follows a few months in the life of seventh grader Iris Cohen, whose father is dying of AIDS. People at Iris’s largely white, private New York City school know her father is gay, but Iris hasn’t told her friends, DnD players who head up an after-school Philanthropy Club, that he’s sick. Surprising herself, though, she suddenly tells new kid Julian, who’s just moved from Indiana and doesn’t balk at the news, or at Iris’s family situation—she and her mother live in the same West Village building as her father and his boyfriend. Alongside emotional first-person prose peppered with mentions of era-specific entities and people—ACT UP, Indiana teen Ryan White—acrostic poems exchanged by Iris and her father address themes of life’s fragility as well as managing grief and rage. Iris’s father says that writing a poem means first identifying its “beating heart”; foregrounding believable, dynamic characters and showing both the cost of inaction and fear around the HIV/AIDS crisis, and the power of activism to bring change and build community, Polonsky has done just that. Ages 10–14. Agent: Wendy Schmalz, Wendy Schmalz Agency. (Jan.)