A poignant and empowering teen novel of grief, unrequited love, and finding comfort in one's own skin.
Aden isn't looking for love in her senior year. She's much more focused on things like getting a solo gig at Ike's and keeping her brother from illegal herbal recreation. But when Tate walks into Calculus class wearing a yarmulke and a grin, Aden's heart is gone in an instant.
The two are swept up in a tantalizingly warm friendship, complete with long drives with epic soundtracks and deep talks about life, love, and spirituality. With Tate, Aden feels closer to her mom—and her mom's faith—than she has since her mother died years ago. Everyone else—even Aden's brother and her best friend—can see their connection, but does Tate?
Navigating uncertain romance and the crises of those she loves, Aden must decide how she chooses to see herself and how to honor her mom’s memory.
Aden Matthews is love-struck by Tate Newman, who is in her calculus class, and he seems to like her back, even though he has a girlfriend. Their growing friendship is almost all Aden can think about, but readers quickly learn that her life is brimming with complications that go beyond unrequited love. Hilb packs her debut novel with enough serious subjects to fill multiple books: Aden still feels the absence of her mother 10 years after her death, her angry father hasn't fully dealt with it either, her brother has a drug problem, her best friend is having an affair with a teacher, and there's an attempted sexual assault, an unplanned pregnancy, and Aden's body image insecurity, as well. Hilb layers one topic over another, yet her novel remains breezy, never really tackling them with much depth. Short chapters, framed around Aden's memories and interactions, leap from one challenge to the next in a way that makes the story a fast, engrossing read, but one that doesn't entirely do justice to everything it attempts to address. Ages 14 up.