Girl Crushed

Knopf. Apr. 2020. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781984897343.
Gr 7 Up–Quinn and Jamie are the only two openly gay girls in their school, so it makes sense that the longtime best friends would end up dating. But when Jamie suddenly ends things a month before the beginning of their senior year, Quinn is left without her girlfriend and her best friend. Attempting to move on, Quinn recruits her years-long crush Ruby, the charismatic lead singer of local band Sweets, to play at her favorite struggling coffee shop. As she gets closer to Ruby, it becomes clear that both she and Jamie miss each other, even as they try to mend their friendship. Is it the loss of their friendship or of their relationship that leaves them both feeling so empty? Debut author Heaney crafts a well-developed character in Quinn, who also dreams of playing college soccer and wants to make an impression on her absent father. The single-mindedness with which she goes after her goals affects all her relationships, and her growth will resonate with many teens. This charming romance also addresses the all-too-common practice of discounting or ignoring the queer identity of people in hetero relationships, the complicated road back to friendship after a romantic relationship ends, and the importance of adjusting expectations as you go.
VERDICT A solid addition to collections where romance and light realistic fiction are popular. Recommend to readers of Rainbow Rowell and Becky Albertalli.

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