cover image Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Tash Hearts Tolstoy

Kathryn Ormsbee. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8933-1

Ormsbee’s (Lucky Few) powerful coming-of-age exploration introduces Natasha “Tash” Zelenka, a talented young woman who is passionate about Leo Tolstoy and who seems to have it all. Tash is a gifted filmmaker and dramatic arts student with her own vlog, and she and her best friend Jacklyn have a YouTube series titled Unhappy Families, based on Anna Karenina. Tash and Jack are consigned to relative obscurity until a prominent online celebrity praises Unhappy Families, but with the accolades and attention comes the pressure to live up to the image. Additionally, Tash is struggling with her older sister’s growing distance, a surprise announcement from her parents, her understanding of her own identity as a romantic asexual, and her long-distance flirtation with fellow vlogger Thom. As a result, Ormsbee’s story comes close to feeling overstuffed with issues, but her attention to the depth of Tash’s thoughts and feelings, as well as a spot-on narrative voice, make this a compassionate and frank look into challenges that can seem to fly at teenagers from all directions. Ages 14–up. Agent: Beth Phelan, Bent Agency. (June)