This wasn't a particularly fast paced or action packed read but it was still an interesting one. There were so many little things going on throughout the book that came together to make the plot of Annabeth's growth in her senior year instead of it being one big event and everything branching out from that. It ended up being a very character focused book.
Annabeth was an interesting character. She met Noe when she really needed someone in her life and she clung to her and their friendship. She came across as very dependent on Noe and the idea of Noe leaving caused major anxiety. She was quiet and passive, usually letting other people act on her behalf and not arguing with whatever decisions were made for her. It was great to see her growing and realizing that she deserved a voice and her own future instead of following Noe and that she could see her friendship with Noe for what it had become instead of it being what was keeping her grounded. Even though she felt like Noe was the one growing and drifting from her, I thought it was more Annabeth was the one who was growing up.
The minor characters were more of a mix between interesting and maybe a little underdeveloped. Noe could be manipulative and selfish but then she could also be caring and sweet. In those times it was easy to see why Annabeth was so drawn to her. In the flashbacks, she seemed like a genuinely good person but in the present, she was more about herself. Steven was a lot of fun as a character. I liked his insistence that he and Annabeth become friends due to their mutual Noe association. He was someone Annabeth needed in her life. Her cousin Ava was almost the opposite of Noe. She'd been a selfish child but grew into someone Annabeth could really count on and talk to.
The book touched upon a lot of issues without going too deeply into any of them. Most of them were ones that were happening or had happened to people around Annabeth. We saw Annabeth's reaction and a little about how the people were handling the issues but the book stayed focused on Annabeth. It was reading high school senior year through the eyes of a very relatable character.
My favourite thing about the book was the relationship between Annabeth and her mother. It was never easy or perfect for them but it was so obvious her mother only wanted what was best for Annabeth. She had gone through so much to raise her, she was concerned about the sudden plan changes, she was always present even if some things did slip past her. It was really great to see Annabeth learning just how strong a person her mother was and coming to see her in new ways.
2. Realistic portrayal of growing out of a friendship