The Pick-Up

Sourcebooks/Fire. Sept. 2021. 304p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781492684169.
Gr 10 Up–A chance encounter on the way to Chicago’s Lollapalooza brings bookish and shy high school senior Mari quite literally into the lap of the hot but equally awkward and artistic T.J. during a crowded shared ride to the concert. Hanging with her stepsister Sierra and her girlfriend Megan, Mari is happy to be away from her abusive mother in Tennessee; T.J., from Wisconsin, is eager to see his favorite bands with his much admired worldly older brother Tyler. Both are victims of their own willingness to please others at the expense of their own feelings and needs. This story details the weekend that opens the doors for Mari and T.J. to discover friendship, and love, as they find, lose, and find each other again. They kiss, argue, and meet their favorite band members, while tentatively sharing the secrets they each thought were too deeply buried to escape. While Mari and T.J. make their journey towards self-exploration, Tyler takes a deep look into his treatment of women and Sierra boldly steps forward and acknowledges her love for her girlfriend Megan. Most characters are presumed white but diverse characters are included, such as Megan, who is Black.
VERDICT Teens who enjoy reading about relationships will root for Mari and T.J. as they work to understand their relationship and their own journey of self-discovery. Recommended for purchase.

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