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I was hoping to like this novel because of the blurb and the reviews. But I was sorely disappointed. I thought the idea was great to have a non-Caucasian protagonist for a change. We need to see a lot more diversity in middle grade and young adult literature and I was hoping this book would be a good addition. However, the writing style is boring. There's too much on-the-nose writing and distracting stage direction that takes readers away from the story. Plot development is poor. There's much more fluff than meat. If we take out some unnecessary descriptions that don't really add to the story, the book will probably be half its current thickness. It was difficult to turn pages because there's not much tension to keep you reading. Also, considering this is for a middle grade audience, I didn't like that the author was talking about making out/ kissing and that she used the word "stupid" one too many times. Yes, she may be projecting realism, but as a teacher, I wouldn't use this as recommended reading for young kids. It may not be the kind of book that some parents will approve of. The book had some setups that could have been explored further but fell flat. There wasn't much digging into the main character's Filipino culture besides the brief mention of pancit, kumusta ka, and atchara (an appetizer made of pickled papaya) which the author mistakenly referred to as a Filipino curse word. She could have added a bit more backstory to Apple Yengko that could have made her a unique protagonist readers can sympathize with. The novel just didn't shine for me, which is so sad as I really wanted to like this book. For those of you who are interested in middle grade books that explore themes of diversity, you're better off with Thanhha Lai's "Inside Out and Back Again" or Reyna Grande's "The Distance Between Us."