You Say It First

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Jun. 2020. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062674128.
Gr 9 Up–Meg is a force. She’s active on her high school campus, she works phone shifts getting people registered to vote, she’s a feminist, and she has just been accepted into Cornell. She has a nice group of friends and parents who love her. By all appearances, Meg has it together. But a year prior, when her parents got divorced, her mother’s drinking and her father’s new girlfriend sent Meg into autopilot without anyone noticing, not even Meg. It isn’t until Meg’s boyfriend unexpectedly breaks up with her that she wakes up and realizes she’s been so busy holding things together that she’s lost her own agenda. When small-town and hardworking Colby answers a call from Meg, the two make a connection that changes both of them. Five hundred miles away from one another, Colby and Meg begin a relationship based on good old-fashioned dialogue that enables them to move forward and quit letting life make decisions for them. Cotugno, rather than being politically heavy-handed, makes seamless the complexity of Meg and Colby’s relationship. She writes with equal sympathy about opinionated characters with differing life experiences and worldviews.
VERDICT For collections where the smart-girl romances of Miranda Kenneally, Jenny Han, and Nandini Bajpai do well.

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