Late to the Party

Roaring Brook. Apr. 2020. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250209139.
Gr 8 Up–An introvert, 17-year-old Codi has always been comfortable spending time by herself painting, or ordering takeout and watching old movies with her best friends Maritza and JaKory. But the summer before senior year of high school, Codi starts to feel like she’s outgrowing her longtime friends and that it’s time to spread her wings. In doing so, she goes to parties, makes new friends, and experiments with booze and pot; she also makes good on her determination to explore her feelings for another girl. Although the plot is not groundbreaking, Quindlen convincingly portrays Codi and her contemporaries with credible dialogue and realistic settings. The novel’s strengths lie in conveying the complex situations and often contradictory emotions teens experience; many of the characters are self-aware of their hypocrisy and the stifling effect it has on their ability to act in their own best interests. Codi is white and gay, and the novel is populated with a diverse group of friends—black, Latinx, straight, gay, and bisexual—many of whom have their own layered narratives.
VERDICT Recommended for LGBTQ teens looking for relatable characters, as well as any teen in need of a quick, satisfying read.

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