Their friendship blossoms as she becomes a fiercely loyal defender of his secret, while he offers her emotional support during her family’s financial struggles. The novel’s premise initially feels like a traditional trope: Two best friends transfer to a new school where romance and varying degrees of social acceptance strain their friendship. But Wren’s voice transforms the potential teen dramafest into a nuanced reflection on gaining independence through the pursuit of individual interests and demonstration of concern for the well-being of others. Wren displays an uncanny ability to say just the right thing to comfort Tim during dark moments, a skill many readers will envy. And her very public loyalty to Tim is admirable. Yet Wren is far from perfect, occasionally privately revealing she still longs for a romance with Tim or feels jealous of his relationship with a football player, though she knows these feelings are unfair.