Closed off and grieving her best friend, fifteen-year-old overachiever Verdad faces prejudices at school and from her traditional mother, her father's distance since his remarriage and her attraction to a transgender classmate.
Verdad De La Reyna is having a rough time. Her best friend, Blanca, died when a white supremacist shot up a movie theater. Verdad has a scar from where a bullet hit her leg and post-traumatic symptoms like trichotillomania, but she still finds comfort in Blanca's ghostly visits. Verdad, who doesn't speak Spanish, also doesn't feel completely confident in her Boricua identity.
The arrival at school of attractive white trans boy Danny makes her wonder if she's lesbian, or queer, or some other LGBTQ+ identity. Strong insightful prose, sometimes disjointed, showcases Verdad's unique voice, not shying away from her pain or her stubbornness. A lot of her growing up has to do with the question 'How could you be so woke and so 'sleep at the same time?' as a queer woman of color who has to work through transphobic thoughts, anti-black racism, and other prejudices, which may help some readers in their own understanding while alienating or hurting others.
A diverse cast of homeless queer youth provides a lot of catalyst for her growth, which at times verges on exploitative, but young people underserved in literature will find fully fleshed, mostly positive--though somewhat tragic--representation here. Teen banter about racism, cultural appropriation, police brutality, and transphobia showcases the complexity, brilliance, and power of young activists. Shaky at times but powerful.