FICTION
Amelia Westlake Was Never Here
Poppy Little, Brown. May 2019. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316450669.
COPY ISBN

Gr 7 Up–Elite private school students Harriet Price and Will Everhart could not be more different—Harriet must constantly maintain her image as the perfect student and athlete while Will has a history of agitation and troublemaking. When they land in detention together after witnessing their swim coach’s inappropriate and sexist behavior, they start publishing cartoons under the pseudonym Amelia Westlake, exposing examples of the systemic injustice running rampant at their school. Amelia’s cartoons and other acts of protest ripple throughout the school—making other students feel uncomfortable at the minor acts of defiance, or giving them the courage to find their own voices and speak out against the power imbalances in their school. This is a funny romantic comedy that takes the “opposites attract” trope and sets it against a background of playful and subversive feminist protest reminiscent of Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie, Adrienne Kisner’s Dear Rachel Maddow, or E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. What makes this novel stand out is the attention to character development and the attention paid to the various ways teens are expected to live within the boundaries created by adults.

VERDICT The variety of social pressures that Harriet and Will struggle with will resonate with readers who find themselves pulled in a dozen different directions by the expectations of parents, peers, teachers, and social norms.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

TOP STORIES

LIBRARY EDUCATION

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COMMUNITY FORM

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.