Author: Maureen Johnson
Publication Date: October 2004
Genre/Format: Fiction/LBGT Novel
Summary: Nina, Avery and Melanie are true best friends and have been forever. It is the summer before senior year and Nina has the opportunity to go to a summer program at Stanford. While there she meets Steve, a ecofreindly, totally cute boy. When she comes home, she is in such a good place; however, while she has been gone, a romance has been budding between Avery and Melanie. Now Nina has become the ultimate third wheel.
What I Think: This is realistic fiction in the purest of forms. The story follows three friends all trying to figure out something: love, sexuality, identity, commitment, friendship, their future... This is as teenagery as you can get. I really enjoyed how the narrative switches between point of views so you can see how each is dealing (though I wish the switches were marked better... Sometimes it was hard to figure out for a second). I also wish that more of Avery's POV had been included because she did a couple things that I still don't understand (though teenagers tend to do things that no one, even themselves, understand).
Read Together: Grade 9-12
Read Alone: Grade 9+
Read With: So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez, How Beautiful the Ordinary compiled by Michael Cart, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, Not that Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian, This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Snatch of Text: "Her mom was probably right. Maybe she just needed to get up and put herself back in circulation." (p. 91)
"She felt alone. She'd felt alone all day. It got worse when she messed up with the note and then got all weird about Avery's rehearsal. Why did she do these things, things she knew perfectly well would make Avery stress out?" (p. 178)
"Fired. Fired was cool. Fired implied attitude. Fired was very rock and roll. Fired was also broke, parents screaming, no money for her car, and no way of even thinking about going to New York City for school because her parents sure as hell weren't paying for Avery to hang out with purple-haired, clove smoking artsy trustafarians when Geneseo and Old Westbury were more affordable and infinitely less furrreaky...." (p. 202)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Making Connections, Predicting, Asking questions
Writing Strategies to Practice: Dialogue, Characterization, Plot Development
Writing Prompts: Who is your best friend? Why are you best friends?; What dreams do you have for the future?
Topics Covered: Friendship, Sexual orientation, Love, Loneliness, Change, Challenges, Doing your best, Happiness, Individuality, Perseverance
Translated to Spanish: Not that I can find