For Kirsten McKenna, the world is crumbling. Her parents are barely speaking to each other, and her best friend has come under the spell of the school’s queen bee, Brianna. Only Kirsten’s younger science-geek sister is on her side.
For Walker Jones, the goal is to survive at the new white private school his mom has sent him to because she thinks he’s going to screw up like his cousin. (Walk keeps telling her,“Don’t have to worry, Momma. Before I go bad I’ll let you know, send a Hallmark card ready-made for the occasion . ‘On the eve your son messes up.’”)
But Walk is a good kid. So is his new friend, Matteo, though no one knows why Matteo will do absolutely anything that hot blond Brianna asks of him.
Then Kirsten discovers something that shakes her and Walk to their cores. . . .
Choldenko, who struck CL gold with Al Capone Does My Shirts, does a good job making the voices of this dual narrative clear. The interpersonal struggles, whether between parents or 7th graders, feel real. However, she tries to hard when she brings in love child angle. Really, there was enough going on. The story didn't need this big bang at the end, which then required haste in closing the rip in the middle-schoolers' universe. In parts, the characters seem to be written at an older age -- 14 or 15 -- rather than the 12-13 they are. Worth reading if you want to follow the career of Choldenko who is a really nice person and a great presenter, but a flawed story standing alone.