cover image Hole in the Middle

Hole in the Middle

Kendra Fortmeyer. Soho Teen, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-61695-956-2

Morgan, 16, was born with a literal hole in her middle. This physical difference—which serves as an allegorical and metaphorical device throughout the novel—has forced Morgan into isolation; she only associates with her best friend and roommate, Caro, and her boyfriend, Todd. In a moment of self-acceptance, Morgan decides to “out” herself at a local club by wearing a cutoff T-shirt that exposes her midriff, not realizing that her act will bring unwanted attention, and she is mystified when she becomes famous on the internet. Then Morgan learns of Howie, a boy with a lump of similar size and shape as the hole in her midsection, who may not only be her cure but also, possibly, her missing piece. Debut author Fortmeyer delivers her messages overtly rather than weaving them in with subtlety: Howie’s mother, for example, imparts wisdom on how to be a good person with every line of dialogue. For many readers, though, this directness won’t reduce the impact of Fortmeyer’s otherwise powerful, witty, and funny tale, which integrates a sprinkle of magical realism into the mix. Ages 14–up. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, Bent Agency. [em](Sept.) [/em]