Smash It!

Inkyard. Sept. 2020. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781335146502.
Gr 9 Up–Seventeen-year-old Olivia has decided she is done being in the shadows. She creates a list of things that she wants to do to face her fears. Try out for a part in the school musical. Say yes to a date. Find new friends. Be bold. Move on from her crush on her best friend and neighbor, Eli. Even a small thing like learning to take a compliment. When she gets the part of Bianca in the school’s musical, Othello, Olivia can’t believe it. She starts to make new friends and before she knows it is asked out on her first date. What Olivia does not know is her plan to do things she’s afraid of might also mean she becomes someone she doesn’t like or recognize. Told in first person, readers are taken through a realistic journey of Olivia’s self-discovery and mistakes. Olivia is flawed and learns how she needs to love herself. The characters in this story come from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, and Olivia’s family is African American. Fair warning, there is a lot of swearing and some sex scenes, although not explicit.
VERDICT Recommend to readers looking for realistic stories with romance, with a little teen angst and identity-searching thrown in.

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