My Second Impression of You

Bloomsbury. Sept. 2022. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781547604128.
Gr 8 Up–Maggie’s life implodes in one day: she’s dumped by Theo, her nemesis Carson finds her clutching a broken ankle, and the subsequent doctor’s visit ends with her scheduling surgery while calling in her play’s understudy. Stuck at home, Maggie receives an anonymous text asking if she’d like to relive her “Best Day.” Clicking “yes” downloads a mysterious app on her phone that lets her revisit the first day she met Theo, but there’s a catch. The app’s “backstage pass” allows Maggie to hear others’ thoughts, bringing forth some surprising truths that have Maggie reevaluating more than one relationship in her life. With a hint of magical realism and a nod to theater nerds, Mason’s sophomore novel ventures into the “what ifs” everyone experiences in their relationships. A bit dramatic and selfish at times, Maggie embodies a realistic teen whose dive into the Best Day app gives her a reality check on how perspective can change everything. At some moments, the relationships within Maggie’s family feel unbalanced, but eventually stabilize as Maggie learns to make a more conscious effort within the family dynamic. What truly shines in this story is how Maggie works through her flaws and feelings, showing it’s okay to get things wrong, as long as you’re willing to learn and grow. This point is strongly driven home as Maggie grapples with a huge secret her best friend has been hiding. Maggie and Carson are white, and Theo’s background is Greek.
VERDICT A whimsical coming-of-age story that plays with the concept of second impressions.

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