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Author: del Rosario, Juleah
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Year Published: 2018
ISBN: 9781534410442
Grades: Grades 9 to 12

500 Words or Less

Reviewed by:

Debut author and librarian Juleah del Rosario delivers an impactful contemporary novel in verse interspersed with essays, cleverly contrasting the two writing styles. Smart and vivacious Nic is a Chinese-American girl in her senior year of high school, bullied and isolated by her peers for cheating on her popular boyfriend with his best friend. Her journey of self-discovery begins with her offer to write college admission essays that confront many social issues for her privileged Ivy-League classmates, and leads to Nic’s accepting her mistakes and taking responsibility for what she has done. This painful but hopeful realistic novel finds Nic moving on and forgiving herself, seeking new possibilities for the future. The gender-based unfairness of infidelity, racism, divorce, addiction, and diversity are all addressed with sensitivity in this intimate read for mature young adults, who will empathize with the imperfect narrator and appreciate the twist at the end that adds honesty to this candid coming-of-age story.

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