The First Thing About You

Candlewick. Oct. 2022. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536223118.
Gr 8 Up–When Harris moves to New Jersey with his family from San Diego at the beginning of his sophomore year in high school, he views it as an opportunity to start fresh. At his old school everyone knew him as the kid who uses a wheelchair because of his spinal muscular atrophy; Harris wants more than that. He wants to have friends, stay out late, go to a party, go on a date, maybe even kiss a girl. These dreams start to feel possible when he meets Zander (nerdy but friend material) and Nory (definite girlfriend potential) on the first day of school and soon thereafter Miranda, a youthful and cool nursing student, agrees to be his full-time nurse so his mom doesn’t have to accompany him to school every day. (Having a young nurse take notes for you in class and feed you lunch is way better than mom, even if mom is pretty cool.) Harris even manages to get a seat at the coveted football team’s lunch table in the cafeteria due to his plucky charm and extensive knowledge of football. But it turns out being a teenager and growing up is hard, and the path is bumpy, no matter where you sit. What’s important is figuring out who you are.
VERDICT Recommended for first purchase. Readers will root for Harris as he navigates the highs and lows of high school, family life, and friendships.

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