Feiwel & Friends. Mar. 2022. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250624147.
Gr 7 Up–Although many people no longer remember the lore of the nearby lake, Bastián has always been privy to its secrets. A transmasculine nonbinary boy with ADHD, they are able to manage their symptoms by creating alebrijos, papier-mâché sculptures of fantastical creatures, and releasing them into the lake. Only one other person knows the secrets of the lake—Lore, a genderfluid nonbinary teen with dyslexia who has just moved to Bastián’s town after an event they refuse to speak about. Although Bastián and Lore share feelings of anxiety and shame around their neurodivergence, they find themselves revealing more of that part of themselves as they attempt to calm the magic of the lake. The intricacies of identity and intersectionality, and the fantastical manifestations of both teens’ insecurities, are exquisitely painted in flowing prose. McLemore does not shy away from the realities of being nonbinary, neurodivergent, and brown, but the focus remains on Bastián and Lore’s growing acceptance of who they are, as well as the depiction of Bastián’s ADHD ventures into realities beyond the typical descriptions of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Refreshingly, the teens both have supportive families and the conflict does not center on gender identity.
VERDICT An especially important purchase for school libraries, but a strong candidate for inclusion in most collections serving teens.

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