Love, Off the Record

Atheneum/McElderry. Jun. 2024. 416p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781665955720.
Gr 9 Up–Éowyn “Wyn” Evans and Nathaniel “Three” Wellborn III are freshmen in college working as grunts at their campus newspaper, The Torch. Both have aspirations of landing a spot as a legitimate journalist next semester and are at war for the one spot that will be available. They play a twisted game they are both aware of: whoever gets a rise out of the other person wins first. Wyn finds Three to be the most unpleasant human being she’s ever met—he has perfectly timed jabs and is also infuriatingly cute with good manners. The story takes readers through college parties, online dating sites, crushes, roommates who get suspended for selling drugs, and ultimately, the plot revolves around an article Three and Wyn team up together to write which has dangerous undertones. Wyn identifies as fat, and Three fits the stereotypical mold of an attractive, white, fraternity-pledging college guy. Due to the cultural norm of Diet Culture, Wyn’s relationship with her body is complicated and evolving. Could Three be attracted to her? Markum is an excellent writer of teen romance—this story is incredibly engaging, funny, and sweet. Flirting and attraction builds in a very natural, real way. Markum masterfully explores fatphobia gently and accurately, as a self-stated plus-size woman herself.
VERDICT An incredible read and a must-have for all YA romance lovers.

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