The Truth of Right Now
Booklist Reviews 2016 November #1
When Lily returns to her Manhattan high school in the fall, she is met with disgust and revulsion from her longtime classmates. They all know what she did the previous school year, and their disdain only adds to Lily's distress, since she's still emotionally paralyzed by the experience and unable to take refuge even in her beloved music. Then she notices a new kid, Dari, who keeps his head in his art to avoid his difficult home situation. As they grow closer, they find some comfort in each other, and if this was a predictable novel, their romance would heal all their wounds. But debut novelist Corthron eschews the easy path, especially when Lily, who's white, displays careless, dangerous naiveté when Dari, who's black, faces an ultimately tragic interaction with police officers. While the plot at times verges on melodrama, its focus on racial injustice becomes the most powerful of the novel's subplots. Hand to fans of Kekla Magoon's How It Went Down (2014) or Stephen Emond's Bright Lights, Dark Nights (2015). Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2017 Fall
A complex and satisfying take on the classic boy-meets-girl archetype, Corthron's novel follows star-crossed teen lovers in contemporary NYC. Black Trinidadian artist Dari and privileged, troubled white girl Lily are both authentic-feeling characters, and their struggle to reconcile their newfound happiness together with pains of the past makes for a refreshingly honest story about the blessings and consequences of opening one's heart. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
PW Reviews 2016 October #5
In this engrossing debut novel set in New York City, Corthron takes readers back and forth between the perspectives of two high school loners who are beginning the school year with a lot of baggage. Lily Rothstein, a white musician, is the school pariah, abandoned by even her best friends, though Corthron doesn't immediately reveal why. Dariomauritius "Dari" Gray, who is black, has an abusive father and his own history of rage, which he tries to escape by focusing on drawing and keeping to himself. Sparks fly when the two meet, and their conversations about family, race, and their difficult backgrounds light up the pages. Corthron carefully builds trust between Dari and Lily, but as the teenagers' pasts catch up with them, some late-breaking and scandalous developments, including the revelation of what has made Lily such an outcast, undermine the still-new romance and tenuous intimacy between them. While some of these dramatic twists feel rushed, Corthron marks herself as a writer unafraid of taking up difficult topics relevant to teens' lives. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laurie Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jan.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.