This is a cute book.
It showed up on a number of recommended books lists, mostly in young adult fiction. After reading Love in the Time of Cholera, I wanted a quick read, and this one was (read it in one sitting). It was also fun.
Instead of the usual trope of "boy meets girl," we have the premise of "boy wants to meet girl, is too shy to do so," which Kelly writes delightfully well. While there are moments of bullying in the book (and, yes, the scenes frustrated me, as all power abuse situations annoy me), and the ending is a bit tidy, the book is a children's book, so we can both forgive and appreciate these quirks.
The book won the 2018 Newbery Medal (perhaps another reason I added it to the reading pile), so clearly I am far far far from the only one who enjoyed this book and recommend it.
“How come so many of your stories have boys getting eaten by stuff, like rocks or crocodiles?”
“Not all of them are about boys getting eaten. Sometimes it’s girls.”
I only pray at night, because it’s my least favorite time of day. Everything is still and dark, and I have too much time to think.
“Do you believe in fate?” Lola sat back.
“Oh, yes,” she said. “Certainly I do.”
“So you believe things happen for a reason?”
“Ay sus. Don’t talk with your mouth full. And yes, I do. I think good things happen for a reason. And bad things, too.”
Virgil swallowed. “Why do you always bring up the bad things?”
“If you didn’t have bad things, you wouldn’t have good things. They would all just be things. Did you ever think about that?”
Gen sat down with her legs stretched in front of her and grabbed her toes. She’d always been a wiggly girl.