Scholastic. Apr. 2024. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338775655.
Gr 5 Up–What does it mean to grow up and become a man? Salazar seeks to answer this question through sensitive eighth grader Elio in this companion to her celebrated novel in verse The Moon Within. The term “ultraviolet” refers to how he visualizes the depths of his emotions, especially when it comes to Camelia, the object of his affection. Yet relationship drama and pressure from his macho Pops make Elio question his manhood and sets him into a tailspin that threatens his tenderhearted nature. Salazar writes from a place of abundant empathy for all her characters—from rascally little sisters to wounded bullies—none more so than Pops, who needs to understand the reality of true masculinity the most of all. Her frank but thoughtful approach to puberty and sexuality, both from the perspective of public school students and from Indigenous Mexican traditions, further grounds Elio’s story and provides valuable life lessons to young readers without tilting into preachiness. Although this book stands on its own, parents and teachers could inspire in-depth conversations on the broad spectrum of coming-of-age narratives and experiences by pairing this with The Moon Within.
VERDICT Yet another heartfelt and accessible tale of growing up from one of the best in modern children’s literature.

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