The Misdirection of Fault Lines

Peachtree Teen. Apr. 2024. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781682635803.
Gr 10 Up–Sports fiction is overflowing with stories about overcoming adversity, so what better than a YA novel that has not one, but three talented teens triumphing over hardship? Told in the distinct voices of young Asian American athletes competing at a prestigious tennis tournament, this novel depicts them grappling with grief, health issues, familial demands, and racism. Readers first meet Alice, an outsider to the opulence of the Bastille Invitational, who is reeling from her father’s death. She shares accommodations with Violetta, a glamorous influencer with a tennis-pro mom, and Leylah, a tough-as-nails disgraced powerhouse determined to prove her worth. Gracia is adept at slowly peeling back the layers of her characters’ emotions and experiences as they turn weaknesses into strengths yet remain true to themselves. While readers may root for underdog Alice, her story unfortunately slows and fades toward the end, lacking the dramatic highs and lows of Leylah and Violetta’s tumultuous journeys and the emotional payoff that comes with them. The novel remains fresh and compelling regardless, a worthwhile addition to YA sports fiction where tennis is otherwise rarely represented.
VERDICT Serve to a future Coco Gauff or fans of Dahlia Adler’s Home Field Advantage and Sloane Leong’s A Map to the Sun.

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