There are two protagonists in this book: Naima Rodriguez, whose mother died at her birth and whose Marine father has been killed during a sixth tour of duty overseas; and Dew Brickman, who lost both parents at the same time and has been adopted into a new family. Both teenagers have multiple, caring adults in their lives who are doing their darndest to see that the kids prosper. Naima has no use for her stepmother Nell and stepbrother Christian, but she is fond of her grandparents JJ and Kam. She goes to stay with them for a while. Dew lives with his adopted family next door to the grandparents and is aware of Naima and her loss. Both kids have multiple mental problems and undergo therapeutic drug and counseling treatments. In addition to their mental problems, their grief is overwhelming. In the course of the book they become friends with each other (and with others) and successfully work through the worst of their grief.
As you will see from the tabs in the above picture, this book has a great deal of coarse language, often with multiple examples on the same page. There are a couple of references to gender fluidity. There is gentle romance, but no sex or sex talk.
In her Acknowledgements the author says the novel has undergone many rewritings and much tinkering. It is a very busy and confusing book, both in format and content, which makes for tiresome reading. It’s short on clarity. I’d spend your scarce library dollars elsewhere.
Categories: Death and Grieving, Depression, Diversity, Dysfunctional Relationships, Grief, LGBTQIA, Mental Health, Navigating through High School, Offensive Language in YA Literature, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships