2019 In the Margins National Book Award Recommended Fiction
Themes of FRIENDSHIP and typical teenage behaviors are represented WELL. School Library Journal
A book that travels dark places with a little torch in the back pocket. You Own the Words
The best thing about this book was the DIVERSITY in the characters. They were from several different backgrounds; Chinese, Puerto Rican, Middle Eastern, Mixed Race and Caucasian. There was also diversity, in my opinion, in the male characters that the book portrayed in comparison to most books. Both of the main male characters were such understanding, sensitive, quietly confident and caring individuals. It is not typical in a YA, or books in general, for the majority of the male characters to be something other than extremely 'manly', overconfident and flirtatious, it was REFRESHING. Muse of Nyxmares
For Mary Sofia, The Penultimate writing competition is more than a chance at a free college education; she wants to show her younger siblings that they can all rise above their violent family history. For Raiden, the pressure to succeed comes from within, although he knows that family traditions play a part in his determination. For Camara, writing fiction is almost compulsive, but her own dark secret may be the best story she can ever tell. For Michael, swimming and writing fit his introverted personality perfectly, but meeting a smart and beautiful girl at The Penultimate makes stepping outside of his comfort zone easy. All four will compete against each other along with 96 other high school juniors for the chance of a lifetime: a full scholarship to a prestigious private college. Some students will do anything to win, but others may pay the price.
What are readers saying about The Competition?
Inspiring YA story!
Well-written with unexpected twists.
The young men in the story were well-drawn and refreshingly sensitive.
The author captured what it's like to be a writer -- especially the self-doubt which goes along with writing.
Special appreciation for the homeschooling shout out; I particularly loved those moments!
A beautiful story with complex characters.
A pleasure to read.
Great characters and a solid story.
Throughout this book, I was trying to figure out who might win the competition and the ending truly surprised me. This is such a fabulous book for high schoolers and YA who are into competitions and even those who aren't. Either way, these kids (most of them anyway) show you how to do it and how to behave in general. I work with kids and find that they can be as good as the kids in this story. People, kids, do not all use foul language and jump into sexual relationships. Young men are still decent and girls can still be respected without being pressured to do bad things. I absolutely loved this story and I hope this author writes more about writing and how inspiration comes from winning and losing and from behaving appropriately even in the face of something truly unfair.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.