17 Oct / Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian [in Booklist]
It’s 1989 and AIDS is a death warrant, but first love knows no limits. Despite a teeny little blip when Lauren Ambrose mispronounces “Audre Lorde,” the cast of Abdi Nazemian’s latest presents in near-perfect pitch. Ambrose is fashion-forward creative genius Judy (named after Garland), glibly sarcastic to hide her self-doubts, earnestly devoted to those she loves most, aching with bewildered longing and impending loss.
Michael Crouch is adoring as Judy’s bff-since-always, Bartholomew Emerson Grant VI – better known as Art, and he’s absolutely already a talented photographer – who’s the only openly gay student at their elite NYC high school. He’s practically feral over injustice, but will switch instantly to icy with his disapproving society-scion parents.
Judy and Art become an unbalanced trio with the arrival of Reza, who’s “just moved here from Toronto, by way of Tehran.” Versatile Vikas Adam shows his substantial range as closeted, panicked Reza, as well as older AIDS-afflicted activist Stephen – who is Judy’s uncle, Art’s stand-in father, and possibly Reza’s hero.
First love is about to consume all three teens, first betrayal will almost break them, but intervention from the Madonna will ensure their friendship will “Live to Tell.” Queer 101 notecards, yellow roses, Keith Haring t-shirts, and the funeral scene from Imitation of Life will prove “Love is our legacy.”
Readers: Young Adult