|Just our luck|
Author: Walton, Julia
Leo has always been told to stay away from Evey Paros, but after his anxiety disorder causes a fight at school, he has no choice but to ask for her help.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 511990
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2020 Gr 9 Up—Before she died, Leo's Greek grandmother Yia Yia gave him two rules. First, "Bad luck follows lies." Due to his anxiety, Leo causes a fight at school and isn't honest about what happened, requiring him to attend weekly school counseling with Drake, the student who hit him. In addition, his dad decides he should take self-defense classes even though Leo prefers knitting, crocheting, and taking photos. Rule number two: "Leave the Paros family alone" due to a supposed curse they put on Leo's family generations ago. When Leo arrives at the gym for self-defense class, Evey Paros, who he knows from years of attending the same Greek Orthodox church, is checking students in. Seeing that Leo would rather do anything than attend this course, she makes him a deal to take hot yoga instead if he will help her with a project to get back at her ex-boyfriend. Leo is a relatable character who deals with anxiety and panic attacks while feeling lonely after the death of his grandmother and as a result of his strained relationship with his dad. He refuses to conform to gender norms even though he is sometimes bullied, preferring to focus on his passions. Despite the serious themes of mental illness, grief, and bullying, there are plenty of moments of humor as well as a few instances of adult language. VERDICT Readers will root for Leo as he finds his place in the world.—Sarah Polace, Cuyahoga P.L. Syst., OH - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/15/2020 When Greek American Leo is sent by his aloof father to self-defense class, his anxiety and gentle demeanor divert him instead into the neighboring hot-yoga class. There, he chronicles his junior year in a journal, through which he shares his struggles with anxiety and isolation—due in part to his mother’s and grandmother’s deaths. As Leo improves through yoga, he connects with also-Greek Evey, whose great-great-grandmother cursed his great-great-grandfather. Initially cold and calculating, she blackmails artistic Leo into helping her exact revenge on the ex-boyfriend who humiliated her, but as the stakes rise, the two teens are drawn into a love of their own. Despite the trappings of a teen romance and high-school drama, Walton’s (Words on Bathroom Walls, 2017) personal story focuses on the internal life of Leo, whose voice and character prove to be completely endearing. The epistolary form demands some suspension of disbelief, but readers won’t mind, as it offers a quick pace and easy access into this character-driven exploration of mental health through friendship, family, and art. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.