Cross My Heart and Never Lie

Astra/Hippo Park. Sept. 2023. 248p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781662640544.
Gr 6-10–Tuva has a plan for seventh grade: write in her diary, be cool, go to her first sleepover, and fall in love. A typical 12-year-old, Tuva lives in Norway with her dad. As she starts school, her best friends begin quarreling over boyfriends, makeup, and how to spend their spare time. As the year progresses and things get worse, she is caught in the middle, trying to figure out how to be friends with one without alienating the other. Can she reunite her friends, or will being in love with Mariam cause them to drift farther apart? Tweens will relate to Tuva being caught in friendship drama and feeling compelled to fit into a specific mold. The relationships with friends and family are authentic and add dimension to the story. Her questions about sexual orientation will ring true with readers. Fans of Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden may enjoy this title as well. The diary format is easy to read as digital illustrations add depth and vitality to the story. This is a also a good choice for struggling readers due to the uncluttered format, copious white space, and large text.
VERDICT A great story about finding one’s place in the world, fitting in, and learning to be comfortable with who you are, despite what others may impose upon you. Well-told and reassuring for young people questioning their place in the world. A good choice for most collections.

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