Friday, February 12, 2021

Book Review: Spin with Me by Ami Polonsky

Essie moves from St. Louis to North Carolina with her dad while he has a temporary teaching gig at the university. It's weird to be away from her mom and her friends and she's counting down the days, but she quickly makes friends, including Ollie, who is non-binary. And she develops a crush on Ollie, which she thinks might be reciprocated, but things are even more confusing than usual. One of her friends back home is kind of ghosting her, and she comes up with the idea to make a big art piece. 

Then the narrative switches to Ollie, and their life at home and their burgeoning crush on the new girl, Essie. But Ollie also isn't sure if Essie feels the same way about them. As they work together preparing for an upcoming parade, they get close, bumble things, and nervously navigate their way through complicated feelings.

This is a thoughtful book exploring a lot of themes involving relationships, gender, sexual identity, and more. I did enjoy it, and I think it'll be really useful to some kids who are curious about these issues or dealing with them themselves, but these kids are insanely mature and respectful to the point where it's more than a little hard to believe. That said, it's an easy flaw to overlook, and all it means as that they're mostly acting exactly as we all wish we would if we didn't have things like tempers, miscommunication, and knee-jerk reactions. It's pretty lovely living in a world where those really aren't issues. And it's a very supportive book, that helps explain and normalize some more complicated concerns.

 This book is published by FSG BYR, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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