February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

I Never by Laura Hopper | SLJ Review

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redstarHOPPER, Laura. I Never. 304p. HMH. Nov. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781328663788.

Gr 10 Up –A stellar debut novel that easily compares to Judy Blume’s iconic Forever. While on vacation in the middle of her junior year, 17-year-old Janey’s parents drop the bomb that they are separating. They claim the “magic is gone” and Janey is heartbroken. However, the teen has a terrific group of friends, excels academically, and is one of the best on the track team at her San Diego high school. Janey has never been in a relationship because she’s never met the right guy. But handsome, popular 18-year-old senior Luke Hallstrom changes her mind when she reencounters him unexpectedly, and they instantly click. Luke is up-front about the fact that he will be moving back to Massachusetts and going to Boston College at the end of the school year. The two teens start with public dates, lots of texting, introductions to friends and family members, and an open sharing of opinions. It’s all new and exciting to Janey, but she does feel a bit intimidated and self-conscious because Luke has had lots of experience with other girls. Their sexual relationship evolves slowly after both teens have professed their love, and is accompanied by respect, caring, patience, and protection. The experiences are detailed but not explicit, and present an idealistic portrayal of real-life first sexual encounters. VERDICT This is destined to be a classic and will undoubtedly be passed around from teen to teen as a word-of-mouth favorite. Highly recommended.–Susan Riley, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2017 issue.

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