cover image Rick


Alex Gino. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-338-04810-0

In this standalone companion to Gino’s George, 11-year-old Rick grapples with his identity while navigating shifting relationships and learning about allyship. Now that he’s starting middle school, it seems that everyone expects Rick to “turn into some sort of hormonal beast,” but he worries that he’s never had a crush. Though he hopes that the Rainbow Spectrum, “an after-school club for LGBTQIAP+ rights,” might provide answers, he hides his interest from his best friend Jeff, a homophobic bully. As Rick begins to find words that describe his orientation—asexual, aromantic—he bonds with his fellow club members and is forced to consider his friendship with Jeff, whose bullying exempts Rick but not his new friends, among them Melissa, the star of Gino’s debut novel. In addition to feeling accepted by his club peers, he begins conversations with family about his identity, but it’s his deepening relationship with his Grandpa Ray, who loves cosplay, that provides Rick the safe space to be himself. Bonding first over a science fiction program, the two find that their connection spans beyond the screen, further highlighting the power of authenticity and acceptance. Through the Rainbow Spectrum, readers are introduced to a wide range of identities and pronouns. Ages 8–12. [em](Apr.) [/em]