One year ago, teenager Ava Lee lost her parents and best friend in a fire, and was burned over the majority of her body, including her face. After a grueling recovery, and at the insistence of her medical team and family, she reluctantly agrees to return to high school even though she’s terrified of how the other kids will react to her. Initially, she struggles…until she meets Asad, a fellow drama geek, and Piper, who was injured in her own life-changing accident. As the story progresses, Ava grapples with issues such as identity, belonging, trust, courage, and heartbreak. The writing is strong, the voice feels authentic, and the characters are excellent—flawed but relatable. Full of teenage angst, family love, and friendship, this was a sweet and inspiring read that made me cry at least twice.
This book gets bonus points for feeling very medically authentic, for being set in my hometown of Salt Lake City, UT, and for being written by a fellow Writers House client. I read this book in two sittings and loved every minute! Highly recommended for teenagers and adults who enjoy contemporary YA with a positive message.
Note on content, since YA can vary quite a bit: suitable for ages 12 and up. A few mild swear words (hell) and mention of alcohol. No sex. Would be PG if it were a movie.
This is out NOW! Thanks to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for the free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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