Off the Record

Camryn Garrett. Knopf, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-984829-99-3

Garrett (Full Disclosure) interrogates body image, familial tension, power dynamics, and sexual assault in this contemporary feminist novel about aspiring journalist Josie, a Black 17-year-old from Atlanta. Struggling with her family’s commentary on her body and resigning herself to wait until college to find friends, Josie’s delighted when a magazine contest offers her a chance to travel on a multicity press tour and write a cover story on Marius, the Black star of an upcoming film, whom she soon finds herself falling for. When an actor reveals she was sexually assaulted by a famous director—the same director Marius will be working with in his next film—Josie digs deeper into the rumors while coping with her own past sexual assault. Josie is a talented, self-conscious teen who clearly critiques the way women are treated in the world around her. Expositional plot points gleaned through Josie’s interviews can drag at times, but a side story offers a sweet romance, and Josie’s largely internal journey remains a strong portrait of a young woman finding her voice while coming into her own. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (May) [/em]
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