Poignant and chilling by turns, The Opposite of Innocent is award-winning author Sonya Sones’s most gripping novel in verse yet. It’s the story of a girl named Lily, who’s been crushing on a man named Luke, a friend of her parents, ever since she can remember. Luke has been away for two endless years, but he’s finally returning today. Lily was only twelve when he left. But now, at fourteen, she feels transformed. She can’t wait to see how Luke will react when he sees the new her. And when her mother tells her that Luke will be staying with them for a while, in the bedroom right next to hers, her heart nearly stops.
Having Luke back is better than Lily could have ever dreamed. His lingering looks set Lily on fire. Is she just imagining them? But then, when they’re alone, he kisses her. Then he kisses her again. Lily’s friends think anyone his age who wants to be with a fourteen-year-old must be really messed up. Maybe even dangerous. But Luke would never do anything to hurt her...would he?
In this powerful tale of a terrifying leap into young adulthood, readers will accompany Lily on her harrowing journey from hopelessness to hope.
Lily's thrilled when her parents' friend Luke comes back to town. She was 12 when he left, still a kid; at 14, she has breasts, wears makeup, and her braces are off and Luke, who is 29, makes it clear that he notices the changes. Sones (Saving Red) tells the story in her characteristic free verse, which effectively reveals Lily's feelings and moves the story along. Luke is staying with Lily's family, so it's easy for him to help her parents by driving Lily and her sister around town. After a lot of flirting, the two declare their interest, which leads to romantic kissing that makes Lily feel powerful and adored. Soon, though, Luke begins pressuring Lily to do more things she's not comfortable with. The ending sidesteps key questions about adult reactions and how Lily will shape her narrative moving forward, but authentic details and situations show both the appeal and the inherent power imbalance of being a teenager involved with an adult. Ages 14 up. \n