The Liar’s Guide to the Night Sky

Sky Pony. Nov. 2020. 224p. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781510757806.
Gr 9 Up–After being forced to move around the country to help take care of her aging grandfather, Hallie Jacob is convinced that life could not get any worse. After Hallie and her cousins sneak out one night to hang out on an abandoned ski slope, a mudslide causes them all to be stuck in the freezing cold temperatures with little more than granola bars and a few water bottles. Her older cousin Jaxon’s bad boy best friend, Jonah, is along for the ride, and when Hallie can take no more of waiting to be rescued, she and Jonah set off into the wilderness alone. Even though she is training to be an EMT, Hallie is less than prepared for the biting temperatures and mountain lions, and even more unprepared for Jonah and how she is strangely attracted to him the more she gets to know him. While some of the romances seem formulaic, LGBTQIA+ characters are realistically understanding of their pansexuality and aromanticism. Hallie also discusses politics and reflects on her Jewish religious background in an adventure that will keep readers wondering what will happen next. Hallie is white, her cousins are mixed race (dad is white and mom is Black), and Jonah is Afro-Latino.
VERDICT While romance is a major factor of this novel, Shrum’s frank, yet gentle, exploration of self-discovery on the side of a mountain make this stand out.

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