Alison is a nerdy and (probably) queer girl, heading into her first year of university in a new town. She’s leaving behind the wreckage of her first relationship with a girl, which left her burnt—literally—when a cleansing ritual involving torching relics of her ex got out of hand. At school, Alison meets Shar who is as cool and gorgeous as she is mean and possessive. Shar wants Alison to skip classes and stay in her dorm room with her all day, to sleep in her bed every night and for Alison to never, ever be friends with anyone else. Mariko Tamaki vividly depicts those intense, confusing girl friendships that skirt the line of romance but dive headlong into codependency. While Tamaki’s graphic novel Skim
, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, was a challenging and engaging read for youth and adults alike, this YA novel is heavy on the Y. Older readers may enjoy the nostalgia of their university days, but younger readers will get the most out of it.