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Book Review: Spin Me Right Round by David Valdes

When I’m reviewing books for professional publications, I stay quiet about them on social media. I’m always really excited once a review comes out to be able to talk about the book, finally! Here’s one of my most recent reviews, which originally appeared in an issue of School Library Journal.

Bloomsbury. Dec. 2021. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781547607105.

Gr 9 Up–A modern-day gay teen time travels back to 1985 and wonders if he can help change the past without changing his future. Cuban American Luis Gonzalez, student body president, staff favorite, theater kid, principal’s secretary, and general busybody, has an irrepressibly large personality. A day student at a small, conservative boarding school, opinionated and confident Luis is out and proud. Luis’s big hope is to make his school allow people of any gender identity to go to functions as dates, mainly so he can attend prom with his boyfriend Cheng. But before that can happen, he gets knocked out and lands in 1985, suddenly attending school with his future parents. He’s less concerned with solving the problem of how he got there than with what he can do to solve the problems his new 1985-era friends encounter, especially when it comes to homophobia and the fate of his parents’ classmate Chaz. Interfering might change Chaz’s future for the better, but what will it mean for Luis’s own fate? The writing is snappy and conversational, but Luis’s voice sometimes comes off as “teenagery” in a way that feels forced. This engaging read is full of honesty, vulnerability, and truly funny moments, as well as equal parts bravery and potentially dangerous foolishness. Self-centered and prone to acting first and thinking later, Luis gains insight into the present through this trip to the past.

VERDICT An immersive story offering a unique look at second chances, acceptance, and progress.

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