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"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green



Spin with Me
Authors(s): Ami Polonsky
Publication Date: February 16, 2021
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook; 224 pgs
Publisher: FSG Books for Young Readers
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Kindle Audible
Bookshop.org - Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tour Schedule

Week One
2/15/2021 - For The Love Of Kidlit - Excerpt
2/16/2021 - Westveil Publishing - Excerpt
2/17/2021 - onemused - Review
2/18/2021 - Bookish Forever Blog - Review
2/19/2021 - Becky on Books - Review

Week Two
2/22/2021 - My Fictional Oasis - Review
2/23/2021 - Two Points of Interest - Review
2/24/2021 - booksaremagictoo - Review
2/25/2021 - Eli to the nth - Review
2/26/2021 - @fictitious.fox - Review

The Summary

From the author of the critically acclaimed Gracefully Grayson comes a thoughtful and sensitive middle-grade novel about non-binary identity and first love, Ami Polonsky's Spin with Me.

In this elegant dual narrative, Essie is a thirteen-year-old girl feeling glum about starting a new school after her professor dad takes a temporary teaching position in a different town. She has 110 days here and can't wait for them to end. Then she meets Ollie, who is nonbinary. Ollie has beautiful blue eyes and a confident smile. Soon, Essie isn’t counting down the days until she can leave so much as she’s dreading when her time with Ollie will come to an end.

Meanwhile, Ollie is experiencing a crush of their own . . . on Essie. As Ollie struggles to balance their passion for queer advocacy with their other interests, they slowly find themselves falling for a girl whose stay is about to come to an end. Can the two unwind their merry-go-round of feelings before it's too late?
My Review

Spin with Me by Ami Polonsky is a beautiful story about the experience of first love and the complexity of gender and identity.  Polonsky manages to capture the exploration of the macro and micro that pre-adolescence through adolescence embodies.  Children are often overlooked for not having complicated feelings and views of the world, but that is highly inaccurate.  Children, as they grow and learn, experience the vastness of human emotion and situations.  Polonsky manages to explore this in a tangible, digestible way.

Essie must move to a new city in North Carolina with her father for only one school term, while her mother stays behind in St. Louis.  With that move comes all the new kid jitters, with the added layer of her parents' relationship.  On her first day, Essie meets Ollie, and she immediately feels a spark.  The fact that Ollie identifies using they/them pronouns is not shied away from; the reality of Ollie's gender is touched in a respectful way, where it is an accepted part of them, but Essie also explores how she sees herself using this lens.  Ollie is simply Ollie, and Essie falls for them easily.

Other growing pains are explored, such as Essie's relationship with her parents, having to keep up with long-distance friendships, finding her place in her new school.  Each issue is explored thoughtfully and realistically; Essie is immediately relatable as you follow her journey, counting down the days until the end of her time in North Carolina.  A shift in narrative half way through the story is an interesting change, and mimics the repetition of duality and optical illusion used throughout the story.

Gender identity, gender expression, and love in all of it's iterations is a big part of Essie's story, one which is part precious first love and self exploration at it's core.

Final Rating

About the Author

Ami Polonsky is the author of the critically-acclaimed Gracefully Grayson and Threads. She is a middle school English teacher and a parent of two kids, one of whom exists happily beneath the trans umbrella.

3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of SPIN WITH ME, US Only.


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