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Clark, Jay. Finding Mr. Brightside.

4Q * 4P * J * S

Clark, Jay. Finding Mr. Brightside. Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2015. 224p. $16.99. 978-08050-9257-8.

Abram is slightly obsessed with his neighbor Juliette but he is afraid to make contact because of their shared traumatic past. Abram's dad and Juliette's mom were in a horrible, fatal car crash which revealed the two had been having an illicit affair. Abram and Juliette each react differently to the loss of their parent and the scandal it uncovered. Juliette is addicted to Adderall because it helps occupy her mind and prevents her from sleeping. Abram is on antidepressants that do the opposite. When they run into each other filling their prescriptions at the local drug store, Abram takes a chance and speaks to Juliette, who takes a bigger chance and speaks back. From there, they open the door to an unexpected friendship and romance and some much needed healing.

Finding Mr. Brightside is told in both Abram and Juliette's points of view in alternating chapters. Clark does a good job of making their voices different without resorting to stereotypical differences between girls and boys (Abram does not obsess over sex). The romance unfolds nicely and although it is quick, this is not a case of insta-love. It takes Juliette a while to let her guard down and truly trust Abram. She may have been subconsciously attracted to him, but she was determined to stay out of a relationship with anyone. Clark's characters are realistic and sympathetic. Readers will root for both of them to overcome their trauma and accept a future of happiness.--Jen McIntosh.

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Author:McIntosh, Jen
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2015
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