Year on Fire

Delacorte. Apr. 2022. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781984893666.
Gr 8 Up–When her twin brother, Arch, kisses their best friend’s boyfriend, Immie decides to take the fall. After all, Arch isn’t yet out to anyone, and Immie is sure that Paige will eventually forgive her. It’s a rocky start to junior year, and things only get more complicated when Rohan, a new boy from London, joins their class. Paige sets her sights on Rohan, reminding Immie, who is also interested in him, that she owes it to her to not pursue the new boy since she’s the reason that Paige is now single. But when sparks start to fly between Rohan and Immie, will the trio’s friendship survive? Despite the love triangle drama, this story starts off slowly and takes its time building tension. The narrative flow doesn’t quite gel, and the alternating points of view of the four protagonists hurt the natural pacing of the plot. Buxbaum develops the four characters well, but that takes time, and some readers might not want to persevere, particularly those who don’t connect with multiple leads. Those who do, though, will be treated to a solid coming-of-age story.
VERDICT Suitable for most collections, but the sheer number of issues addressed and the novel’s slow pacing relegate it to a fairly middle-of-the-road read.

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