The world already knows what it should be, it just doesn't always act on that knowledge. Sometimes it just needs a jumpstart. 15-year-old Elle has been dumped in an apartment across the city from her home; she is an inconvenience to her mother and Donald, her mother's new boyfriend. In 24 hours she must start a new school year in a new school living alone in a new apartment. In retaliation Elle shaves her head, and during her first day of classes discovers the word “queer” painted on her locker. A group of gay/lesbian/general misfits befriends her, as does Frank, her neighbor in the apartment next door. But Elle frets over the epithet on her locker, and about hanging out with the gay crowd, fearing she will be mistaken for one. Meanwhile, her feelings for Frank grow warmer in spite of his girlfriend Molly. He listens to her, something her mother has never done. He and Molly take her under their wing, feeding her and teaching her about photography. When her school friends come over for a party, they immediately see something in Frank she doesn't, and, in a fit of outrage, she abruptly ends her friendship with them. Elle must struggle with her feelings, perceptions, stereotypes, and a distant mother before she can “jumpstart the world” and be that change she wishes to see in it. A sensitive and wise novel.
Recommended by Jane Behrens, High School Librarian.