FICTION

Sunkissed

Delacorte. May 2021. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593176269.
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Gr 7 Up–A summer cut off from friends and technology could not have come at a more perfect time for easygoing Avery. After a devastating betrayal by her best friend, a trip to a family camp seems a welcome escape. But a full schedule of activities and family bonding can’t stop her growing anxiety about the fate of her closest friendship, and as Avery comes to some uncomfortable realizations about how she’s perceived by those she loves, she decides to use this summer to try new things. She gets help from a cute staff musician named Brooks, and a forbidden staff-guest romance blossoms after she agrees to fill in on lead vocals in a battle of the bands competition he’s entered. Light, frothy, swoony—all the words for summer romances apply here, and this loose, tamed-down retelling of Dirty Dancing delivers, even for readers who have never seen the source material. Avery’s angst over her falling out with her friend from home adds emotional texture without overwhelming the fun, and the development of her relationship with her budding social media influencer sister showcases some real character growth. Avery and Brooks are cued as white.
VERDICT Readers who rip through romances in the summer will be happy to have this peeking out of their beach bags.

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