Kind of Sort of Fine

S. & S./Atheneum. Jun. 2021. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534482982.
Gr 9 Up–Hall’s first novel leaves readers with a taste of a feel-good coming-of-age teen story that hearkens back to the 1980s teen movies he so often references. Hayley Mills is a high-achieving high school senior looking forward to getting past the mental breakdown she endured last year. Lewis Holbrook is also a senior, but his focus is learning how to become the leading man like so many of his favorite 1980s movies and finally getting the girl of his dreams. When Hayley and Lewis find themselves partnered up in their TV production class, things get off to a rocky start; but their forced alliance eventually gives way to friendship and perhaps something even more. After a series of adventures that include being chased by the cops and playing laser tag, they both find what they were looking for all along, but just not quite in the way they originally planned. Chapters alternate focus on each protagonist, and both main characters provide entertaining dialogue in their respective chapters as readers watch the events unfold through both points of view. Secondary characters could have been developed further, especially in the instance of Lewis’s quest to “win over the girl.” Overall, the story wraps up in a perfectly neat way you’d expect from feel-good high school story. The main characters are white.
VERDICT A good recommendation to teens having trouble dealing with the future after high school, this is a solid addition to any library with an active teen department.

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