Who I Was with Her

HarperTeen. Sept. 2020. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062978387.
Gr 9 Up–Although she’s in love with a rival school’s cross country team captain, high school senior Corinne Parker isn’t ready to be out as bisexual to her classmates and family. Too concerned about others’ opinions and expectations, she feels trapped in a specific role she’s learned to embody as a perfect athlete and student. She excels at school and runs track, dates popular boys, and even chooses her clothes in order to fit the mold of who she thinks the needs to be. Corinne’s sexuality is a secret, so when her girlfriend dies suddenly in a tragic accident, she has no one to turn to for help. The story of Corinne’s developing relationship with Maggie and the grief of the months following her death unfold in chapters that alternate between past and present, slowly filling in details—remembering the track meets Corinne spends chasing behind a talented athlete with a green scrunchie, awkward yet delightful first dates, planning together for college applications. In the aftermath of Maggie’s death, Corinne only sees one real outlet—Maggie’s ex-girlfriend Elissa. Debut author Tyndall captures Corinne’s often overwhelming feelings of grief and isolation with writing that feels at the edge of panic and despair, and will resonate with teen readers who have experienced similar feelings of disconnectedness. Main characters are white, and several secondary characters are described as having dark skin.
VERDICT This will be a popular addition to realistic fiction collections or appeal to readers who devour romances served with a side of intense angst. Recommend to fans of Nina LaCour and John Green’s Looking for Alaska.

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