Sense of the Infinite
by Smith, Hilary T.

As her senior year of high school begins, Annabeth is anticipating the realization of everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been dreaming of, but soon struggles with such unforeseen complications as Noe's new boyfriend and a long-hidden secret.

In her sophomore effort, Smith looks at a friendship with the intensity of a romantic relationship. Since ninth grade, Annabeth has kept a secret so close to her chest that she's suffocating from it: she was conceived from a rape. The one ray of light breaking through the darkness is her friendship with Noe, a charismatic gymnast, but even that begins to slip away as the two girls confront senior year and the prospect of going to separate colleges. As the weight of Annabeth's secrets drags her down, an unwanted pregnancy and abortion add further problems and strain to the friendship. Despite the exploration of serious and dark topics, Smith writes with a light touch. Annabeth's spare first-person narrative will tug at readers' hearts with an intense, palpable yearning for connection and friendship, which she finds in Noe's boyfriend, Steven, who has struggles of his own. Short chapters and lucid, inventive prose make these tough topics accessible without shortchanging them. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Senior year changes everything. Ever since discovering that her always-absent father actually raped her mother, and her subsequent birth destroyed her mother's hopes of a college degree, Annabeth has felt like a monster. Fortunately, throughout high school, she's held the position of Noe's best friend. They plan matching tattoos and matching futures. Noe also anchors her new boyfriend, Steven, an elegant and quirky actor with a suicidal past. Annabeth and Steven strike a limited but playful friendship, and all goes well until Noe begins to change. A remarkably casual sexual encounter leads to an abortion for Annabeth while visiting her cousin in college. Afterward, while her relationship with her mother continues to be strained ("[we] loved each other with eyes averted, like birds circling a pile of grain but never coming close enough to peck"), Annabeth reluctantly begins to drop agreed-upon pretenses in favor of the truth. Admitting to Noe's costs Annabeth their friendship; admitting to her own is harder. Steven teeters dangerously on the edge of a different truth. Some of the issues, particularly regarding Annabeth's father, feel forced, but the mess and loose ends of this story reflect human reality. Annabeth emerges as a complicated character doing her best. Smith's prose is knock-down gorgeous. A fearless writer ably tackles a difficult story. (Fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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