My Fair Brady

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Jan. 2024. 352p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063085718.
Gr 9 Up–After a brutal breakup with his boyfriend, Wade believes the spring musical will be his comeback, ending senior year on a positive note. To Wade’s utter dismay his ex Reese, not Wade, is cast as the lead in My Fair Lady. Meanwhile, painfully shy sophomore Elijah bumbles his way onto tech crew, despite having no experience in theater, and from his first rehearsal fails to connect with the other teens. When a chance encounter leads to Wade’s agreeing to teach Elijah how to be popular, the boys’ vulnerability and blunt honesty with each other may turn into the best deal they’ve ever made. Kennedy pulls out the great moments of My Fair Lady, throws in classic rom-com movie tropes, and creates an enchanting queer love story about finding the people who embrace one’s quirks and faults. Wade is the outgoing teen whose insecurities are buried behind smiles and confidence. Elijah wears his insecurities on his sleeve, preventing him from building relationships. As the two work together, each learns how to own up to and forgive mistakes, while challenging personal growth. The boys are easy to love as Wade’s popularity lessons show that everyone is a work in progress and there’s beauty in the imperfections. Both Wade and Elijah are cued white.
VERDICT A delightfully cozy revamp of a classic tale in which the leads learn self-worth is not based on how others perceive you but on how you value yourself.

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