The Breakup Lists

Dial. Apr. 2024. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593616390.
Gr 10 Up–Jackson’s junior year is going as planned. He’s stage manager for the theatre club, he has a trusted friend in Bowie, and his latest breakup list for his sister Jasmine is soothing her heartbreak. However, things go off script when the captain of the swim team, Liam, lands a lead in the musical, and both Jackson and Jasmine begin crushing on him. But Liam is straight and would never go for Jackson, right? Khorram nails it once again with this page-turning romance about giving oneself a chance to celebrate one’s true identity. In a nod to the theatre kids, especially the techies, this story comes to life as it portrays the balance of various relationships. Jackson realistically models a person who’s part of the Deaf and hard of hearing community: working with hearing aids (which don’t guarantee 100 percent sound), communicating with family who’ve never learned ASL, and listening fatigue. Readers will ride Jackson’s emotions alongside him as he interacts with and eventually confronts others. In the end, no love is lost for antagonists Cam or Jasmine, despite Jasmine beginning to make amends near the end. Liam’s taking on the learning of ASL will melt hearts, as well as show what true intention looks like in building connections. Ultimately, Jackson’s world-crashing leads him to see that sometimes taking a step back to evaluate and work on oneself is the key to moving forward. Jackson is biracial Iranian and white and Liam is white. Supporting cast is diverse.
VERDICT A heartwarming romance where creating authentic connections takes center stage.

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