by Beth Kephart
Georgia knows what it means to keep secrets. She knows how to ignore things. She knows that some things are better left unsaid... Or are they? When Georgia and her best friend, Riley, travel along with nine other suburban Pennsylvania kids to Anapra, a squatter's village in the heat-flattened border city of Juarez, Mexico, secrets seem to percolate and threaten both a friendship and a life. Certainties unravel. Reality changes. And Georgia is left to figure out who she is outside the world she's always known.
(From back summary)
The Heart is Not a Size is, by far, Beth Kephart's best YA novel yet. It's an incredibly lovely story about finding out who you really are. The plot was terrific and moved at a good pace, and the writing was stellar- beautiful and poetic, yet simple and heartfelt.
One wonderful thing about this book was that it was mostly set in Juarez, Mexico. Reading about life in places like Juarez really opened my eyes to poverty and living conditions around the world. I had no idea that there were communities like Anapra, where there were no bathrooms and just sand stretching on and on. That aspect of the story made it quite interesting and educational as well, and it was really touching to read about how hopeful the children there were, despite their surroundings.
What I most enjoyed about this book was the recurring theme of friendship. It's hard to find good books nowadays that really focus on friendship and support and compassion, but Heart encompasses all those ideas. I loved seeing the ups and downs of Georgia and Riley's friendship, and how both of them dealt with those changes. I loved seeing the bonding between the teenage volunteers and the young Juarez children. All the relationships were so realistic, making the characters quite tangible.
Even though this book deals with some serious issues such as anorexia, I think it's a must read for teenagers. The Heart is Not a Size is a truly exemplary novel about friendship and identity, and I highly recommend it to everyone.
Coming out in March 2010.