Lovely, Dark, and Deep

352p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Jul. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338134063. POP
Gr 8 Up—When Viola faints from a reaction to the sun, she is saved by Thor, aka Josh, the boy who tried to sell his comic at her bake sale booth. After she is diagnosed with solar urticaria with polymorphous light eruption, a rare condition with no cure, her crisis manager parents' reaction is to manage the situation, but Viola doesn't want her life to change. She dreams of attending NYU in Abu Dhabi and becoming a foreign correspondent to bring increased attention to the causes she campions through her successful bake sales. Viola tries to continue living as normal a life as possible by starting a relationship with Josh and working on her college applications, but her reactions become increasingly severe—not just from the sun but from all light emitting sources, including her phone and computer. After a particularly bad episode that lands her in the hospital, Josh leaves, blaming himself, and Viola withdraws into the basement where she can be safe, shutting herself away from everything and everyone. Teens will want to read this for the romance and rare medical condition, but they will stay for the sympathetic protagonist who must come to terms with her changed reality. For readers interested in learning more about photosensitivity, Anna Lyndsey's Girl in the Dark: A Memoir provides a look from the inside into the realities of a similar condition.
VERDICT Sure to be popular and recommended for all collections.

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