The (Un)Popular Vote

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Jun. 2021. 416p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063025769.
Gr 9 Up–In a California high school where the Gay/Straight Alliance consists of straight white students, a group of queer and non-cisgender friends find refuge in French Club. It doesn’t matter that most of them don’t take French. Being LGBTQIA+ in a heteronormative environment is not easy and they need each other. Mark is the transitioning son of a politician who would prefer to pretend that he does not exist, so Mark tries to stay out of the public eye. But when a peer is attacked for being gay and the school administration does nothing, Mark decides to run for class president, representing change. Every kid deserves a safe space, acceptance, and love. Mark is ready to start the movement, even if it exposes who he really is to the community. This could be a heavy read but humor and vivid imagery keep it moving. The relationships within Mark’s friend group are heartwarming, inclusive, and intelligent. The plot is not neat and tidy but drips with realism. Mark is white and diversity in gender identity, sexuality, and religion is exemplified in the cast.
VERDICT A recommended purchase for any library but especially those where books by Becky Albertalli and Benjamin Alire Sáenz are popular.

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