She orders fries and a small lemonade from Hot Dog on A Stick, and finds herself entranced by the beautiful girl behind the counter. A few days later, when she and her mom take Abbey’s father’s guitar in for a tune-up, imagine her shock when that same girl works there, too.
The girl’s name is Keeta, and soon she’s all that Abbey can think about.
Abbey and Kate are starting their freshman year at Gila High, and Kate makes Abbey pinky-swear to avoid going out for basketball, and to stay away from “the you know who girls,” who are apparently legion on the basketball team.
This is one pinky-swear Abbey ends up breaking. She ends up being the JV center, and soon finds herself becoming one of “the you know who girls” herself.
And falling ass-over-tea kettle in love as she does so.
This is the first in “The You Know Who Girls” series, and I loved this book. It moved as quick and sure as a well-executed fast-break play, and Abbey is a charming and funny, yet vulnerable, narrator.
Yes, the person who so ensorcels Abbey is another girl, but author Annameekee Hesik also shows straight relationships as they ebb and flow, glow and explode. The same is true for you know who girls, except most have the extra pressure of trying to hide that they’re lesbians.
When I was in high school, I fell ass-over-tea kettle myself for a girl who happened to be three years younger than I was. I loved her to pieces, but I couldn’t let my friends know, because she was so much younger. If they’d found out, I would have been in for some razzing, but nothing serious. After all, she was a girl, and I was a boy.
The stakes are higher for the you know who girls. There are people who are filled with hate, sometimes to the point of cruelty or violence, just because of sexual preference. Add that risk into the pressure cooker-like atmosphere of high school, and things could get ugly fast.
Ms. Hesik does an excellent job easing Abbey into this world, and showing the joys and pitfalls she can expect, and not just from her relationship with Keeta, her lovely Hot Dog on A Stick girl. Keeta’s a senior, and Abbey’s a freshman, so there’s that. They’re gay, which of course complicates things more. But what I like is that they still have to deal with the basics: they’re teenagers in love, and they still have to go to classes every day.
Abbey and Keeta may be lesbian, but they also have basic teenager lives to lead. It’s sweet that they can lean on each other for support, despite the bitterness of having to hide their affections.
At day’s end, Abbey still needs her mom, her BFF, and–most of all–seriously good grades to get by. It’s almost like lesbians have lives just like straight kids.
It turns out that–good heavens–they do. If everybody could accept this, the world would be that much better a place.
This book’s a winner.
Very Highly Recommended
(nb: I received a review copy of the second installment in the series–“Driving Lessons”–and rated it 4/5. Though it’s not 100% necessary–Ms. Hesik does a good job presenting backstory in that one–I highly recommend reading “The You Know Who Girls: Freshman Year” first. I purchased this book on my own after reading “Driving Lessons.”)