ARC Review - The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb - Diversity & Body Image -

10:30 AM


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.

- Goodreads -

4 Stars
The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb was refreshing. Yes, it's a YA Contemporary and yes it does have teen drama, but it's more than that. The lead character is Aden who's dealing with a lot. This book covers a lot of topics like grief, body image issue, religion. romantic dynamics, family & friendships and religion; abusive & inappropriate relationships, drug use, sexual assault. This book sounds like it should be heavy but the writer covers it all while never leaving the story.

With Aden having body image issue I was on the edge of how that would play out, but the author wrote it in a way where it felt real. That yes, not everyone loves their bodies every single moment of the day, I enjoy how even though she is on the heavy side she still found herself pretty. Also, like how in the end she started a swimming class, not because she wanted to lose weight but she wanted to swim, she felt the need to be in the water and have a way to feel free.

This story kinda broke my heart because I love Aden and Tate playful relationship. The only problem I had with this story is that we don't really get to know more about Tate side and why things played out the way they did.

Family is a huge part of this book, and it seems that there are more and more YA Contemporary books that are having families. This family came with its own problems, it's nice seeing a family that is both broken yet still together. It's not either or. The sister and brother role in this book it great. I'm close with both my brothers, so I liked the sibling parts and related to the older sister wanting to help her younger broth moments.

Friendship was also a big part of this book. Aden's brother's girlfriend is one I enjoyed reading because she seems nice when she could easily be mean. There was one bit that I didn't like and that was the student-teacher relationship with Aden's best friend Marissa.

Overall, this was a strong read for me that brought both smiles and saddened too. Yes, it was filled with characters making bad choices but everyone makes bad choices, small or big and they all have an effect. The title of this book could be any better.

I received a NetGalley ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn't in any way influence my opinion on it. So, this is a 100% honest review by me.

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