Hearts Unbroken

304p. Candlewick. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763681142.
RedReviewStarGr 9 Up—An aspiring journalist navigates friendship, first love, and racial politics in this absorbing novel. Louise Wolfe regrets dumping her first real boyfriend via email instead of face-to-face, but his offensive remarks about Native Americans crossed a line for this proud Muscogee (Creek) teen. As senior year begins, she's focused on helping her little brother, Hughie, adjust to high school life, and on earning her desired beat on the school newspaper. Competing against and falling for Joey, a new kid with a passion for photojournalism, is an added bonus. But when Hughie finds himself at the center of a divisive community conflict centered on the casting of the school production of the Wizard of Oz, Louise struggles to balance her responsibilities as a journalist with a desire to protect her family. Louise is an immediately relatable and authentic teenage voice. Bighearted, ambitious, intelligent, she also has plenty of blind spots, particularly where her relationships are concerned. While most of the secondary characters are only lightly sketched, Louise's quirky, loving family dynamic comes through strong. Realistic profanity and age-appropriate sexual situations are depicted.
VERDICT Blending teen romance with complex questions of identity, equality, and censorship, this is an excellent choice for most collections.

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