From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–Set during the summer after senior year, this novel is told from the viewpoints of six very different teens. Five of them, boys and girls, are all infatuated with Annabelle, though it is difficult to tell why. Even when the story shifts to her perspective, she remains a distant character. As Annabelle breaks up with her boyfriend and sorts out her feelings toward two other boys (one a charismatic bad boy and the other a fellow musician who would like to be much more than friends), her needy best friend (who is also attracted to her), and a new acquaintance (a summer visitor to their small seaside town with self-destructive tendencies), emotions run high. Of course, this is still high school, or at least its direct aftermath, so overblown reactions are not out of place. Unfortunately, these scenes frequently feel heavy-handed. This quick read may appeal to melancholy teens heading off to college.Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA
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*Starred Review* Everything begins and ends with Anabelle in Frank's richly layered, interconnected short stories about a group of small-town high-school students in their last summer before college. Anabelle's egocentric boyfriend, Matt, calculates how the quality and quantity of his art will increase as a result of their inevitable breakup. Jonah, Matt's buddy and resident Lothario, considers hooking up with Anabelle to distance himself from a messy dalliance with an older woman. Lexi, Matt's sister, is trying to work up the courage to tell Anabelle that she wants to be more than friends, while rich, depressed Mary-Tyler has a chance meeting with Anabelle that raises both of their spirits. Quiet, intense Tobin, who loves Anabelle from afar, contemplates telling her how he feels when they find themselves together at the top of a Ferris wheel at summer's end. And Anabelle? She is just struggling to understand who she is, let alone who she is in a relationship. These elegantly written character-driven episodes, each from a different point of view, intimately examine issues of unrequited love, social class, and identity seeking through pitch-perfect interactions that teens will find achingly familiar. Like Natalie Standiford's How to Say Goodbye in Robot (2009), this quirky love story about falling for yourself first will appeal to teens' hearts and heads. Grades 8-12. --Jennifer Hubert