by Sharon G. Flake
Middle School, High School Scholastic 231 pp.
10/12 978-0-545-05718-9 $17.99
e-book ed. 978-0-545-46984-5 $17.99
Ninth-grader Autumn is great at some things — wrestling, for one; cooking, for another. Reading is not one of her skills, due in part to multiple moves during her early childhood and parents who also don’t read well. She tells her story in a forthright, colloquial way: “I don’t wanna go to college. I wanna be a chef.” Her chapters alternate with those narrated by Adonis, whose speech is formal and whose opinion of himself is lofty: “I do not dull my light so other people will feel better about themselves.” Born without legs, Adonis manages the school wrestling team on which Autumn is the star (and the only girl). She unabashedly loves Adonis, despite his prickly superiority and oft-avowed rejection, but she doesn’t know the secret that he and her best friend, Peaches, share. Autumn and Adonis, in addition to the supporting characters — parents, teachers, and friends alike — have distinctive personalities and voices, enhancing the story’s depth and complexity. Additionally, Autumn’s viewpoint on reading (that it’s more trouble than it’s worth), along with the respect given to the sport of wrestling and the book’s touching, tentative romance, may appeal to reluctant readers.