Lu Charles is a high school graduate embarking on her last summer before college enrollment in the fall. Filipino-American, she has two loving if divorced parents, one with whom she lives in an apartment in the heart of NYC (together with her video-game-playing younger brother Jase), and the other a nontenured University professor living in Princeton NJ. Both parents have not remarried and are loving toward and supportive of their kids.
Lu is A Writer and is paid to contribute a regular column on the topic of teenage love to an online magazine called Misnomer. She has quite a following and, in fact, collected her latest boyfriend, Leo, as a result of her online musings. For months they had an idyllic relationship. Unfortunately, Leo plans to go off to college some distance away, and at the start of the summer he surprises Lu by going ahead and breaking up with her in advance, throwing her into a tailspin. By accident Lu meets another couple in the same predicament of deciding whether to break up right away or try to maintain their relationship long distance. Since she can’t get Leo to talk with her about their own breakup, she decides to, well, let’s call a spade a spade, stalk the other couple, worming her way into their lives and interviewing them for her column, in an attempt to sort out what has happened in her relationship with Leo. In the meantime Lu neglects her family, as well as a very good platonic friend/coworker, who is also going away to college at the end of the summer.
Oh my, it gets a little tedious reading about all the angst. The book, however, is well-written and moves things along sufficiently. The characters are suitably realized, and the adults are universally good and helpful, if peripheral (as they should be in Young Adult novels).
There is a great deal of coarse language in this book, including religious profanity. Homosexual relationships are treated as equal to heterosexual ones. There is some sexual activity described rather vaguely. A few instances indicate how excess drinking can (but doesn’t, in this story) lead to unwise choices and unhappy consequences. I picked up on that from the vantage point of age and experience but am not sure younger readers will.
If the above caveats are not concerning, young adult readers may find this book relatable and appealing.
P.S. The novel is a real valentine to life in New York City.