Toronto Book Review

19

WE GOT THE BEAT BY JENNA MILLER

When handed the volleyball beat for the school paper, an up-and-coming journalist finds herself facing her past with the team’s captain.

Jordan Elliot, a high school junior who identifies as a fat, white-coded lesbian, takes her role at the school paper seriously, even if she didn’t land the editorship she hoped for. Spending time with her former friend turned betrayer, Mackenzie West, with her sun-kissed complexion and flowing blonde locks, proves to be a challenge. However, with the encouragement of her friends, Jordan commits herself to writing top-notch articles about both the volleyball team and Mack. As they spend more time together and discuss the hurtful actions of the past, Jordan finds herself rekindling romantic feelings. But before they can truly move forward, Jordan must confront her fear of rejection head-on. The characters in the story are portrayed with a captivating blend of endearing qualities and flaws, which adds depth to the emotional weight of their decisions. Jordan’s authentic love for her friends and their witty banter further enriches the narrative, making the non-romantic aspects just as engaging as the moments of flirtation and heart-to-heart discussions between Jordan and Mack. The story also seamlessly integrates queer characters into the narrative, allowing them to exist naturally while also highlighting their unique experiences. Additionally, Jordan’s experiences as a fat individual are explored in a nuanced manner, shaping her character and revealing her vulnerabilities without defining her entirely.

Overall, the story offers a nuanced and heartfelt portrayal of high school romance.

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