Review of The Luis Ortega Survival Club

The Luis Ortega Survival Club The Luis Ortega Survival Club
by Sonora Reyes
High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    320 pp.
5/23    9780063060302    $19.99
e-book ed.  9780063060326    $11.99

Sixteen-year-old Ariana, self-diagnosed as selectively mute and autistic, is thrilled when popular Luis turns his attention toward her. But when he sexually assaults her and then brags about it to his friends (“It’s not like she can say no”), Ariana is plagued with shame and self-doubt: “How can I blame him when I couldn’t even bring myself to tell him to stop?” Enter the Luis Ortega Survival Club (TLOSC), a group of Luis’s former friends and ex-flames, some of whom he also assaulted. They welcome Ariana with talk of revenge; soon genuine friendships bloom, and eventually something more between Ariana and bi member Shawni. Ari wants to expose Luis’s crimes but doesn’t know if she will ever be ready to make her rape public. Reyes (The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School) empathetically explores issues of consent and rape culture through a neurodiverse lens in this story of self-empowerment. Many readers will see themselves reflected in TLOSC’s diverse membership and appreciate Ari’s gradual understanding and ownership of her sexuality as she grows closer to Shawni and comes to realize that what happened with Luis was not her fault.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jennifer Hubert Swan

Jennifer Hubert Swan is the library department chair and upper school librarian at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at Pratt Institute School of Information, where she teaches youth literature and library programming. She blogs at Reading Rants.

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