What’s Coming to Me

Soho Teen. Aug. 2022. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781641293358.
Gr 10 Up–A magnetic, coming-of-age thriller about grief, class, and trauma. Minerva Gutierrez, 17, works at an ice cream stand for a predatory boss, hoping to save up money to escape her circumstances—a terminally ill mother in the hospital and living in borderline poverty. When burglars rob the shop, grabbing the money bag straight out of Min’s hands, the Dominican teen is traumatized and finds it difficult to get past the events of that night, especially as she starts to wonder whether her sleazy manager was a part of the crime. The first half of this gritty, noir-esque novel sets the scene for this Long Island seaside tale of haves and have-nots. The pacing picks up in the latter half, as a motley crew of Min, her love interest and assistant manager, Eli, CeCe, her weed-dealing neighbor, and Mary, her erstwhile best friend, plan a heist to extract a rumored treasure that could change their lives. Padilla’s characters are fully fleshed out, especially the unflinching Min whose mother’s long-term and terminal illness is always weighing on her mind. Marked by a strong voice, the protagonist’s sardonic narration is equal parts vulnerable and defiant. While the novel is heavy with themes of poverty, sexism, and racism, there are threads of lightness woven in. CeCe and Mary are lesbians. CeCe is Latinx; Mary and Eli are white.
VERDICT Realistic teen characters, hypnotic writing, and an honest portrayal of adolescence make this debut a perfect choice for fans of Sarah Zarr, Tiffany D. Jackson, and Phillippe Diederich.

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