Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Blair Thornburgh
Publisher: Harper Teen
Natalie "Nattie" McCullough-Schwartz is starting her junior year with a bang: she and her three friends, all founding members of their school's gay-straight alliance, are attempting to take over the school's Winter Formal and make it a more inclusive and represented event. Beyond that, Nattie is trying to get over her longtime crush on Sebastian Delacroix, an aspiring musician and lead singer of the alt band the Young Lungs. When the Young Lungs' new single, "Natalie," is released, Nattie has no doubt that the song was written about her. So she's left trying to decide why Sebastian Delacroix would write a song about her, while still trying to make the Winter Formal the best dance Wister Prep has ever put on, and maybe she'll figure out why she's suddenly getting nervous and sweaty around her friend Zach in the meantime. Nattie has to take a good look at what she really wants, who she really is, and at what price fame and fortune come.
This book has it all—lively, relatable characters; laugh-out-loud humor on nearly every page; hilariously sticky situations; real-talk conversations about love and the meaning of it all; and some delightfully awkward but smile-inducing sweet romance. Thornburgh crafts a story that every realistic fiction and romance fan will love. Nattie herself is a very relatable character, a girl who's sometimes awkward but mostly just loves her friends and wants to be happy in life, though she's unsure sometimes of how to do that. The plot itself was intriguing and had just the right amount of subplot to keep readers interested in even the most minor of characters. Readers should be aware that one of the subplots centers around making a school dance more inclusive of LGBTQ+ students, and that some of the characters are lesbian, gay, and transgender. The treatment of the subject is tastefully done by including these kinds of characters without making the book preachy or hyper-focused on sexuality or identity. Overall, this is a great book for anyone who likes a funny, heartwarming read.
*Contains moderate language and moderate sexual content.