Parents' Guide to

Cool for the Summer

By Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Witty and surprisingly lovely story about questioning teen.

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This charming read is a thoughtful rendering of how fluid and surprising identity can be, set in a familiar high school context. Though Lara and her friend groups aren't at first glance relatable. Popular kids at school are either wealthy or benefit from connections to wealthy people. But author Dahlia Adler deftly paints characters with depth beyond their stereotype (jock, boy-crazy girl, mean girl, etc.), so initially resistant readers will quickly get on board with the characters' emotional journeys. It doesn't hurt that the author nails the teen voice with witty dialogue and inner thoughts, includes a sweet love story, and writes steamy sex scenes.

The central conflict results from poor communication, which may annoy some readers (why couldn't they just be honest with each other from the beginning?!). But Lara's confusion, anger, and fear as she interrogates her summer with Jasmine and her uncertain feelings for Chase are as authentic as they come. Any teen who's questioned who they really are will find a kindred story and hope in Lara's experiences. This book is fun to fall into and a necessary addition to queer and questioning lit for young adults.

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