Unnecessary Drama

Flatiron. Aug. 2023. 304p. Tr $23.99. ISBN 9781250894427.
Gr 9 Up–Brooke has a plan for everything. She worries and is anxious but thrives on organization and is eager for a new start at university in Melbourne. Then, she discovers that her former friend Jesse, who kissed then humiliated her at a high school party, is her housemate. She has no other housing option and their third housemate, Harper, granddaughter of the owners, has a rule—no unnecessary drama—so Brooke pretends everything is fine while cautioning Jesse to leave her alone. While she is determined to keep her distance from Jesse, his help when she experiences a ruptured ovarian cyst and general kindness lead her to reluctantly see that there is more to him than his casual cruelty when they were younger. Told from Brooke’s perspective, the novel captures the stresses of the early college experience of finding a friend group and discovering who you are as a “semi-adult.” Enemies-to-love, set-ups, fake-dating high jinks to make an ex jealous—this one has a bit of everything, and readers will enjoy going along for the ride. Brooke doesn’t drink; her older sister binge drinks and their absent father struggles with alcohol. Main characters cue white and there is LGBTQIA+ representation (the novel’s most stable relationship is Harper and her girlfriend, Penny).
VERDICT A fun, breezy read that feels lighthearted but is multilayered, this one will appeal to YA and new adult readers, especially those ready to begin college. Enthusiastically recommended.

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