Kind of Sort of Fine by Spencer Hall

Disclaimer: I received the arc for this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Kind of Sort of Fine

Author: Spencer Hall

Book Series: Standalone

Diversity: One Black side character, Main Character with Anxiety, Main Character that is overweight and dieting

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For…: ya readers, soon to be high school graduates, contemporary

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publication Date: June 22, 2021

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Pages: 283

Recommended Age: 14+ (Dieting/Food, Weight, and Exercise related content, Bullying, Alcohol consumption, Language, Anxiety and Panic Attack)

Explanation of CWs: Dieting, exercise, and weight are heavily discussed as apart of Lewis’ story. Alcohol is consumed and one character gets drunk. There’s a few curse words in the book. There’s also heavy bullying by a side character on the main characters. There is also a main character and her mental health is discussed as well as a panic attack shown in the book.

Synopsis: Senior year of high school is full of changes.

For Hayley Mills, these changes aren’t exactly welcome. All she wants is for everyone to forget about her very public breakdown and remember her as the overachiever she once was—and who she’s determined to be again. But it’s difficult to be seen as a go-getter when she’s forced into TV Production class with all the slackers like Lewis Holbrook.

For Lewis, though, this is going to be his year. After a summer spent binging 80s movies, he’s ready to upgrade from the role of self-described fat, funny sidekick to leading man of his own life—including getting the girl. The only thing standing in his way is, well, himself.

When the two are partnered up in class, neither is particularly thrilled. But then they start making mini documentaries about their classmates’ hidden talents, and suddenly Hayley is getting attention for something other than her breakdown, and Lewis isn’t just a background character anymore. It seems like they’re both finally getting what they want—except what happens when who you’ve become isn’t who you really are?

Review: I really liked this book. It’s your classic “it’s my last year of high school and I gotta make it memorable” book but the characters are what makes this book. I really loved Hayley and I loved her story. I especially loved seeing her development and growth as a person and I think, especially if you have had stress or anxiety, you’ll see yourself in her character. I also thought the plot was well done and the world building was great. I also really loved all of the 80s references.

The only things that I didn’t entirely love is that I didn’t really connect with Lewis or Cal that much. While I think they’re well written for high school boys, the immature jokes about Hayley and about women’s bodies in general made me uncomfortable. I also felt that the book needed trigger warnings for the dieting and exercise Lewis does. It’s very present in the novel and there’s a lot of comments about his weight as well that I feel might trigger some readers, especially those who suffer from eating disorders.

Verdict: It was a great book and if you like the trope definitely give it a go.

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