Love, Heather

Crooked Lane. Oct. 2019. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781643851167.
Gr 9 Up–Navigating the freshmen class’s social circles has not come easily to old movie–loving Stevie after losing her best friend Lottie to gossip and rumors from the ruling queen bees Paige and Breanne. When fearless and charismatic Dee appears, she and Stevie start a series of pranks signed Love, Heather to get even with the tormentors of less popular students. As the practical jokes escalate and spiral out of control, Stevie struggles to reconnect with the adults in her life who seem to have no time for her and her growing anguish. Finding herself at the bottom of a downward spiral after a shocking event, Stevie will make a drastic decision that will change everyone’s life forever. A timely novel about the effects of long-term bullying, Petrou’s story will resonate with today’s teens. This novel drives home many of the post-#MeToo topics that other authors have explored. The main character will be relatable to readers who struggle to find their place in a school social hierarchy, but the story traverses much more than status, as Petrou explores the vulnerability of teens who don’t have a strong support network. The dialogue is fresh and authentic, and readers will root for Stevie even if she stumbles time and again.
VERDICT Some 1980’s pop culture references might be lost to younger teens, but overall this novel drives a powerful message of strength and self-love. Purchase where realistic fiction is in high demand.

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