Weak and abusive parenting is poignantly contrasted with the sweetness of first love in the exceptional YA debut novel of Sarah Lynn Scheerger, who has published several picture books for young readers. The Opposite of Love (Albert Whitman and Company, publisher) is a good balance of sensibility and hard-boiled, with natural yet funny teen dialogue and an effective use of shifting point of view between the two main characters.
“As much as he wanted to believe the muffins were a sign, maybe they were just muffins.” There’s a great deal of depth and dimension to these teenage characters, who are torn by conflicting forces, fears and emotions. We are told explicitly and we are shown heartbreakingly the truest meaning of that elusive title. Adult readers will relate to this well-told story almost as easily as their own high schoolers.