Going Viral: A Socially Distant Love Story

Scholastic. Nov. 2021. 304p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781338745191.
Gr 7 Up–Claire’s world shrinks when her high school closes for the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Confined to their tiny apartment in Brooklyn, Claire and her family struggle to adjust to the pressures of lockdown, especially as it drags past the two weeks they initially expected. Looking for comfort from her girlfriend, Vanessa, Claire is frustrated when their previously close relationship feels strained over video chat and text. With little else to focus on, Claire’s interest is piqued when a mysterious girl named Sadie appears on the fire escape of the building opposite hers, and she begins to document their interactions under a pseudonym on a fan fiction site, Babble. But when the story of their interactions goes viral and Claire’s connection with Sadie is scrutinized by strangers online, Claire begins to wonder what her real feelings are and if she’s taken her fascination with Sadie too far. Main characters are cued white.
VERDICT This book provides a relatable look at the early stages of the pandemic, but underdeveloped relationships lessen readers’ investment in the characters and make the conclusion feel slightly didactic.

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