Orca Book Publishers

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Fiction Ages 12+
Pages: 240
Themes: coming of age, anxiety, Judaism, friendship, grandfather, Passover, cycling, therapy, sisters, shame, sex education
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 07/Mar/2017
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Sixteen-year-old Sydney hates to talk (or even think) about sex. She's also fighting a secret battle against depression, and she's sure she'll never have a boyfriend. When her classmate Paul starts texting and sending her nature photos, she is caught off guard by his interest. Always uncomfortable with any talk about sex, Sydney is shocked when her extroverted sister, Abby, announces that she is going to put on The Vagina Monologues at school. Despite her discomfort, Sydney starts to reexamine her relationship with her body, and with Paul. But her depression worsens, and with the help of her friends, her family, a therapist and some medication, she grapples with what she calls the most dangerous thing about sex: female desire.

Kirkus Reviews
"An approachable, earnest, feel-good romance...provides the flavor for a tale of recovery and empowerment
Resource Links
"Lieberman has written a beautiful novel...it will definitely appeal to teenage readers who are beginning to date and to explore their sexuality. Her portrayal of Sydney's depression and relationship challenges is both sensitive and insightful."
School Library Journal
"Family, mental health, and sexual awakening all combine for an honest and enjoyable read...The protagonist's revelations about sex, her body, and feminism are developmentally appropriate, and many struggling teens will appreciate that Sydney continues to process these issues. Lieberman's story of a girl living with depression as she moves into womanhood will be a hit with fans of Sarah Dessen and Christine Heppermann."
CM Magazine
"Syd is likely a character that will be relatable to readers who have experienced mental illness...Her mental illness, mainly anxiety and depression, is handled well and rings true. It is neither glamorized nor sensationalized. It is nuanced...The Most Dangerous Thing isn't the first YA book to talk about mental illness, or desire, but the intersection of the two feels novel and important...People living with or interested in mental illness, teens who are starting to confront sexuality, those interested in modern Judaism, and people who like slice of life novels will certainly find something to enjoy here."
YA Obsessed blog
"This title for me was a welcome change from the traditional YA romance. I consider myself middle of the road in terms of romance that tackles things of a sexual nature. Leanne covered the subject in a very tasteful way in my opinion. I won't give too much away, but I loved seeing her feelings for Paul develop. It made me think back to my first love and the nervous excitement of each new day...I also enjoyed how she tackled the subject of depression. I myself am a sufferer and I thought her use of the 'fog' in order to describe when the sadness is looming to be a very effective description."
The Kingston Whig-Standard
"The richness of Leanne's novels makes them a fascinating read for both adults and young adults. The story is complex and rewarding, and the themes are significant...But what kept me reading long into the night was the writing."
"This is a quiet, gentle novel that conveys not just Sydney's pain, but also her courageous attempts to dispel the fog, even when it seems to be winning."
Association of Jewish Libraries
"Lieberman handles many heavy topics in a way that is both realistic and gentle, offering readers a chance to grapple with these ideas through a main character that is relatable…An interesting and timely angle on female sexuality and feminism from the perspective of a teenager trying to understand what they mean to her."
"This book felt very real to me—accuarate in its emotional content. Its voice is poignant and believable. It reminded me of how perplexing it felt to fall in love for the first time. I must also high-five Leanne Lieberman for the wonderful way she addresses the issues of female desire; it's done in a way that feels both honest and non-judgmental…Teens will relate to this story on many different levels. Those grappling with anxiety and self-esteem issues will most certainly find a kindred spirit in Sydney."
Jewish Book Council
"Sydney's struggles and battle against 'the fog' are palpable; she is a curious, smart and self-aware protagonist. Lieberman also excels at depicting Sydney's close relationship with her cantankerous grandfather."
Canadian Literature
"Brings Sydney through authentic crisis."


Resource Links The Year's Best  | 2017 | Commended

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