Monday, May 7, 2018

Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Justina Chen - ESSENTIAL

Chen, Justina Lovely, Dark, and Deep, 352 pages.  Arthur A. Levine (Scholastic), JULY 2018.  $19.  Language: PG (15 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

Viola, a senior, has recently returned from a trip to Africa with her adventurer aunt.  While at one of her weekly bake sales for a cause outside a Firefly retrospective, she first meets a cute boy and them has a serious medical incident.  First the doctors are stumped, but them it looks like Viola may have developed photosensitivity - a condition that may force her to stay out of sunlight, or any UV rays, forever.  But while she is testing the limits that this new condition has put on her, she is also testing a new relationship.  None of this is easy when your parents’ business is crisis management and their level of control in this very personal crisis is over the top.

I just have to get this off my chest - I hate Viola’s entitled younger sister with a PASSION! Watching Viola learn her limits, internalize her feelings, and then make plans to conquer her barriers and expand her horizons is amazing.  If you haven’t read Chen’s North of Beautiful, what is wrong with you? She is at her best when she takes introduces us to a girl with a soul-changing problem and delves into the multiple dimensions of excavating a strong, capable woman.  Lovely, Dark, and Deep will not disappoint.

MS, HS - ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

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