Autumn is the only female wrestler on her high school team. Adonis is the smartest boy in school. Where Autumn is vivacious and outgoing, Adonis is shy and guarded. The two have nothing in common on the surface, but they each have a disability they’re dealing with. For Adonis, it’s on the outside: he has no legs and is confined to a wheelchair. Autumn’s disability is much more hidden: she can’t read very well, and each day is a struggle. Despite their differences and Adonis’s reluctance to have anything to do with Autumn, the two find that they have more in common than they initially realized.
This novel is a knockout from start to finish. Flake pulls readers in with both Autumn and Adonis’s distinct, beautifully authentic voices, and crafts a quiet little story about perseverance and determination. Both the main characters are fully realized, smart, and achingly real. While the novel is definitely much more character-driven than anything, the short chapters and brief length should attract reluctant readers.
It’s a good thing, too, because there’s a lot here to love. In addition to crafting some of the strongest narration voices in YA this year, Flake has created a story that has sympathetic and intriguing secondary characters as well. This is especially true in the case of Autumn’s best friend Patricia (aka Peaches) and both Adonis and Autumn’s present and supportive parents.
Everything about the novel is well done from the pacing to the plot to the characterization. Why Draper isn’t getting more notice for her novels flummoxes this reader. There’s something here for most readers, and presenting a strong female character who wrestles but is also feminine is likely to draw in readers who might otherwise be put off by the book’s basic premise.
Highly, highly recommended. Read for the Cybils Round 1 Panel.
Pinned by Sharon G. Flake. Scholastic: 2012. Library copy.