Love Somebody

Farrar. Jan. 2022. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374388966.
Gr 7 Up–Seriously ambitious junior Sam Dickson is premiering her semi-autobiographical play, with her soccer star ex-boyfriend (turned best friend) Christian Powell starring opposite her. Brainy loner Ros Shew finds herself reluctantly in the audience to review the play. When Christian locks eyes with Ros and drops the last line, Sam doesn’t suspect that Christian’s smitten—she’s too annoyed at him. Her annoyance turns to anger when she reads Ros’s unflattering review. None of them (all of whom present as white) realize that soon they will be playing out their own version of Cyrano de Bergerac, with lovesick Christian engaging the help of sharp Sam to woo romantic neophyte Ros—an endeavor complicated by Sam’s changing ulterior motives and feelings. The Cyrano trope gets deftly manipulated by debut author Roasek until her story is more about how these three connect and change as people than who ends up with whom. While the three seem stereotypical at the outset, Roasek unwinds the main characters’ motivations and backstories skillfully without dragging the pacing. Secondary characters could be a bit more developed, however. YA readers may not get all the Cyrano references, but they will enjoy the banter, the secrets, and how this old plot gets a queer twist. Satisfying as the romantic ending may be, it’s the main characters’ finding their true selves that makes this sparkling rom-com stand out.
VERDICT With humor, romance, and unsuspected depth, this book is highly recommended for purchase for upper middle and high school libraries.

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