What Goes Up

HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Aug. 2020. 176p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062387981.
Gr 8 Up–Everyone has their hobbies: For Hudson Valley 11th-grader Jorie, it’s making art with mushroom spores. Her interests in nature, poetry, and print-making are also how she processes the things that happen to her, like her breakup with her boyfriend, Ian, and her dad cheating on her mom. Framed by the aftermath of a momentous party where Jorie gets drunk and hooks up with Ian’s friend, this novel in verse traces the origins of Jorie’s problems, showing readers how they mushroom into more than she can handle alone. Jorie tells her story through short, light poetry that often plays with form. Standouts include “Boots,” “Scientific Proof,” and “9:06 am,” all of which exemplify the insight and subtle humor that is characteristic throughout. Most of the time, the novel succeeds in balancing its multiple plot lines, though the party relinquishes its status as the story’s pivotal moment when Jorie’s dad’s affair takes over instead. The book also attempts to interrogate toxic relationships and catcalling, but sometimes issues like Jorie’s ability to consent to her hookup are simply dropped or ignored. The ending therefore does not coalesce as well as it could, but it handles the complexity of Jorie’s parents’ actions in a nuanced and thought-provoking way. Characters’ appearances aren’t described.
VERDICT This novel would be most suitable for hi-lo readers drawn to the intersection of science and art.

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