cover image Well, That Was Awkward

Well, That Was Awkward

Rachel Vail. Viking, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-670-01308-1

Before Gracie Grant was born, her older sister, Bret, was killed in an auto accident. As a result, Gracie’s parents do everything in their power to make sure that Gracie, now 13, is never anything less than happy, a hard standard for Gracie to live up to. Whether at home or at school, Gracie insists that everything is fine, even when it isn’t. Her social world gets complicated when she develops a crush on classmate AJ, who has a crush on Gracie’s best friend Sienna. Gracie helps Sienna send AJ flirty text messages à la Cyrano de Bergerac, and the results create even more drama. Luckily Gracie has Emmett, her other best friend, but then things get complicated with him, too. Vail (Unfriended) skillfully details the politics of middle school, mean girls, first dates, and best friends in this sensitive and funny coming-of-age story. But it’s the storyline revolving around Gracie’s sister and her parents—and the resulting reflection on grief and the risks of loving another person—that leads to the story’s most profound and memorable moments. Ages 11–up. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. [em](Feb.) [/em]