You, Me, and Our Heartstrings

Scholastic. Aug. 2022. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338790290.
Gr 8 Up–Daisy Abano and Noah Moray seem to have nothing in common except their school orchestra and Julliard ambitions. Daisy’s Italian American parents are too busy working and caring for her toddler sister to attend her performances, while Noah is the last in a long line of wealthy and talented Scottish musicians who can’t help but put him under maximum pressure. Daisy has cerebral palsy and is determined to prove that she deserves her place at the prestigious Manhattan Academy of Musical Performance, even though she is constantly bombarded by ableist discrimination from her peers and teachers. Her crush on cellist Noah blossoms into something more when they are teamed up for a duet. Their performance culminates in a passionate kiss and the video goes viral. Thrust into the limelight, Noah gets a crash course in how cruel people can be online, and the types of hate Daisy faces as a disabled violinist. Their relationship falters but inevitably gets back on track with some help from Noah’s therapist, who teaches him to manage his anxiety and gives him some practical tools for positive allyship. A predictable plot and some heavy-handed dialogue are peppered with refreshing discussions about disability, online bullying, mental health, and privilege. The presence of some ableist slurs may limit the audience, though they are addressed in the context of the story.
VERDICT A gooey, tender love story that leans heavily on romantic tropes but introduces fresh perspectives on disability and allyship. A recommended purchase for larger YA collections.

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