FICTION

This Train Is Being Held

Abrams/Amulet. Feb. 2020. 300p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419734939.
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Gr 9 Up–Set against the backdrop of New York’s transit system, an unlikely love blooms between two budding artists. Alex, a talented baseball player with a demanding Dominican father, secretly writes poetry. He doesn’t want to let his father down but he wants to explore his own dreams outside of baseball. However, he knows baseball is the way out of poverty and the bridge to respect in a world that sees him as just another thug. Isabelle is a brilliant dancer with a bright future. To the outside world, everything looks perfect—her wealth and beauty provide her opportunities and privilege—but there are things she wishes she could change, like her mother’s elitist attitude and prejudices. There’s also the secret about her brother. Isabelle and Alex meet on the subway and fall in love, but when her father loses his job, Isabelle’s whole world is turned upside down. Will their relationship thrive or will it be crushed by the people they love? This is a love story that sheds light on self-hatred and colorism in the Latinx community. Readers will take a walk in Alex’s black Chuck Taylors and experience the feeling of being policed when he is just trying to live, and dance in Isabelle’s ballet shoes to discover how it feels when people are shocked she speaks Spanish because her skin is white and her hair is blonde.
VERDICT Serious romantics will enjoy this love story set against racism, classism, colorism, and mental health stigma.

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