4.5 of 5 stars
This book is gorgeous. I love books in which a character is so passionate about something that it makes me care even if before this book I didn’t even know that something existed. In theory, I knew production design and set design were things in the movie world, but I had never actually thought about them until I was reading Em and how deeply she cared about them. I loved this book so much I even made props for my picture!
One thing I would like to address about this book is that Em is a WOC (she is half-black). It is only mentioned on two pages of the book, and as far as I’m aware is never addressed beyond that. Because I am a white reviewer, I don’t feel like it’s my place to say whether or not this writing choice is problematic. On one hand, it’s important to have stories featuring diverse characters in which the main point isn’t that they’re diverse (from characters of color to queer characters to alterabled/neurodivergent characters). That’s how we normalize these minorities. On the other hand, maybe it wasn’t part of the story soon enough or often enough. I’m not sure if these things tip the issue in the direction of good or bad, because I’m not the one who gets to make that call.
On to some actual problems I had with this book and the reason it’s not getting a perfect 5-star review. Sometimes the book felt a little too perfect and predictable, but I was so excited by the characters and the fluff that it didn’t bother me all that much. The main issue I had with it was Em’s occasional treatment of Ava; sometimes it felt like she was treating Ava more like a story than a real person. Though this issue was addressed somewhat, it wasn’t to the extend that I felt it deserved. For example, Em never recognizes her behavior as problematic, even as she realizes that she was wrong.
Even though it wasn’t perfect, I loved this book. I will very definitely be rereading this book when I need to feel happy and excited.
I would recommend this to folks who like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.