The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb is available NOW! Read my thoughts!
A poignant and empowering teen novel of grief, unrequited love, and finding comfort in one’s own skin.
Aden isn’t looking for love in her senior year. She’s much more focused on things like getting a solo gig at Ike’s and keeping her brother from illegal herbal recreation. But when Tate walks into Calculus class wearing a yarmulke and a grin, Aden’s heart is gone in an instant.
The two are swept up in a tantalizingly warm friendship, complete with long drives with epic soundtracks and deep talks about life, love, and spirituality. With Tate, Aden feels closer to her mom and her mom’s faith than she has since her mother died years ago. Everyone else even Aden’s brother and her best friend can see their connection, but does Tate?
Navigating uncertain romance and the crises of those she loves, Aden must decide how she chooses to see herself and how to honor her mom’s memory.
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I went into this book thinking I would get a cute teenage romance out of it and that by the time I finished reading it my heart would be full with love and other beautiful things. That is not quite what I got. I got much more than what I expected which is always a great thing when reading a book (in my opinion). I got some of the romance I craved, it was cute at times but it was also real, angsty, confusing and even a little heartbreaking. Then I also got the story of a grieving family with interesting family dynamics, a guy who confused me to no end and is still a mystery to me, a best friend who was desperate for love, a main character with body image issues and self-esteem issues and much more things that I wish I could mention but I went to sleep at five in the morning — I blame this book — and my brain is a little messed up.
The Calculus of Change also reminded me why I love reading Young Adult fiction. Every time I read a good YA book I feel like I learn something new about life, myself, other people. I learned some things while reading this book. I also understood a few other things. And I remembered some others. It was a relatable story for me during some parts and it also felt like the main character took me on a journey completely opposite of what I lived when I was a teenager. It truly was like living my teenage years all over again. It was fun, then it was messy and heartbreaking, then it was… looking brighter/better/full of hope.
If you are a lover of all things coming-of-age then read this book. The writing is freaking fantastic. I got like a billion quotes out of this book and went to sleep at five in the morning because I couldn’t stop reading, that’s how you know the author has some mad writing superpowers. Hopefully this book resonates with you as much as it did with me and if it does then let me know so we can chat about it.
5 / 5 flowers
Massive thanks to HMH Children’s Book Group/Clarion Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!