Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Ava's best friend Kelly has recently committed suicide, and Ava has no idea why. As she struggles with guilt over not being a better friend, she turns to Kelly's older brother Lincoln for comfort, but their sexual relationship only confuses them both. When Ava is expelled from her school for violence and obscene language, she spirals further, both emotionally and physically. Enter Gideon, a new employee at the Magic Kabob where she works. Gideon has depression and scars on his arms and legs where he has cut himself repeatedly, but he makes Ava laugh and feel like her old self again. The narrative is told in alternating points of view, and readers are soon aware that the relationship means something more to Gideon than it does to Ava. The characters are engaging, and their emotional struggles are palpable. Ava's sudden emotional twists reflect her inner turmoil and confusion, while the potential return of Gideon's depression looms over the entire novel. The teens come across as authentic, though their voices are minimally differentiated. There is considerable mature language and some mildly graphic sex authentic to the age group depicted. While the majority of the plot is dark and grim, support from caring adults and siblings brings about an ending that is realistic and hopeful. -VERDICT Recommended for most public library young adult collections.-Katherine Koenig, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Ever since her best friend Kelly died, Ava hasn't been herself. She's been making bad choices and feels angry at everyone and everything. When gawky, introspective Gideon starts working with her at the Magic Kebab, they begin a friendship based on honesty, enhanced by letter writing because of Gideon's self-imposed hiatus from electronic and digital communication. As Gideon opens up about his therapy and poetry slams, Ava feels compelled to reciprocate by sharing her feelings about her life and Kelly's death. Slowly, they form a bond that seems to be unbreakable, until confronted with one troubling part of the past. Tender and absorbing, this debut novel from Australia tackles challenging topics including suicide, self-esteem, anger management, cutting, and depression with an open and loving hand. It deals with myriad emotions and allows the healing process to be organic. The sweetness of the characters rises above the darkness they carry, and their honest desire for acceptance and to sort out their lives will resonate with a wide range of readers.--Jeanne Fredriksen Copyright 2018 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Ava and Gideon are two wounded young people whose unexpected connection provokes the best and worst in each other in this witty Australian import.Ava is mourning the loss of her best friend, Kelly; Gideon is in the throes of anxiety and depression. As Ava's life unravels following Kelly's suicide, Gideon joins her as a fellow employee at The Magic Kebab. The two strike up a bond commiserating over rude customers, Gideon's poetry, old-fashioned letters they write and mail to one another, and a boss with an unfortunate tattoo. Gideon doesn't know that Ava is very much involved with her deceased friend's brother, Lincoln, and Ava doesn't know how much Gideon is in love with her. Told in alternating voices, this page-turning novel displays a great deal of artful charm. The only low points are the casual amusement Ava displays in response to her Greek immigrant grandmother's racist remarks. This is particularly troubling as Kelly and Lincoln's family is Maori (other main characters are white). It also doesn't help that Lincoln is portrayed negatively, as aggressive and controlling. However, Gideon's tight-knit family with two loving lesbian moms is a bright spot.Would have been truly stellar if not for the missed opportunities for positive representation. (Fiction. 16-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.