In her debut novel, Salaysay does an excellent job of exploring all these facets and handles them with a sense of honesty and realism that allows Claire to shine as a fully-realized, completely believable character who will resonate with older teens…An excellent coming-of-age story with strong, believable characters and situations.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Salaysay’s debut novel beautifully explores topics not often addressed in YA fiction…Salaysay gets so much right, including the difference between public school in middle-class, heavily Asian Fremont and the rarefied, primarily white private-school world of San Francisco. Claire’s need for affection and acceptance leads her into entirely believable and utterly sad encounters, while the strength she musters carries her through to an uplifting conclusion.
—Booklist (starred review)
The book is deft in conveying the hothouse intimacy of lessons, where physical touching and side-by-side closeness are the norms—but may also blend into grooming. The book is keenly realistic in the gradualness of Claire’s understanding and in her response to the event; there’s no grandstanding punishment for Paul, but readers will still cheer to see Claire succeeding without him on her own terms.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
Lyrical and complicated…In the #MeToo era, this novel well depicts the subtle and fractured emotions involved when a young person comes under the spell of a charismatic, powerful mentor.
—School Library Connection
Salaysay’s writing is fluid and evocative. Teens will recognize Claire’s desire for acceptance, profound grief, and drive to succeed at something she loves. The book’s ultimately heartening ending will empower young people and give them hope that gradual recovery from trauma is possible.
—The Horn Book
A must-read for everyone, but especially women.
—Chinelo Okparanta, author of Under the Udala Trees