I know I know. I should probably wait some decent amount of time before posting a review/reaction. But I'm a fast reader and I am full of feelings.
These are two of the most important middle grade books I've read. Full stop.
Now, there's a lot of work still to do in terms of bringing more diversity and more perspectives to middle grade books, but Ashley Herring Blake is doing MG queer first crush so well, and so tenderly, and so beautifully that I don't want her to ever stop.
Her characters' lives are complex, full of complicated families and hard situations and changing friendships, and interwoven with it all is the so simple (but not at all simple) experience of a first crush. The fear and awkward embarrassment is there, but also the shy hope and loaded glances and tentative moments.
Blake weaves all these things together so well, and THEN, never as a sidenote but also not teetering unsupported as "The Problem", she deftly portrays the particular fears and uncertainties that come when a girl's first crush isn't on a boy. When a friend betrays your BFF secret wonderings about kissing someone of the same gender. When you're wondering if it's okay and even when you think it is, the world is still scary and you just can't feel sure of yourself.
My heart. It is bolstered and feels nearly as mighty as that of Sunny St. James. Thank you for your words @ashleyhblake
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