Jesse Bennett is an incidentally queer teen with a whack job mom and social status anxiety. I like that the lesbian storyline, while important is only one of the three major themes of this adult, but suitable-for-young-adults novel. Jesse is a likable and believable character in a likable and believable novel. It's a pity I don't have anything brilliant to say about the book because it's a likely candidate for next year's favorites list.
This long quote reveals, far better than I can describe, how well Beale gets adolescent angst and rage down:
I thought about Malcolm and what he said to me after we left detention together, how he'd been so angry at me for worrying about what other people thought. I'd considered what he said many times since then, imagining how light I'd feel if I said what was on my mind. I'd tell Tracey to stop being so petty and mean-spirited; I'd tell the Debbies that they needed to start doing their own homework and I never wanted to hear another word about the Bay City Rollers again. I'd tell Stan Heaphy that he was a coward and a bully, and I'd tell Greg Loomis that he was vain and shallow and that he looked a complete moron in his ridiculous clothes. I'd tell Mabel I thought she was a fool for marrying Frank, and I'd take great pleasure in telling Frank how much I hated him. I'd tell Uncle Ted to get up early, go out, and not come back until he had a job. I'd tell my father to stop pretending that my mother wasn't bonkers, and I'd tell my mother that she was ruining my life. Of course, I'd tell Amanda that I loved her. I'd say all of this and more, loud and without inhibition, relishing the way my voice carried through the air. Except all of this was nothing more than an impossible fantasy.