At just 14 years old, Celia Door has turned Dark. Not goth or emo, but withdrawn into herself, clad in black and focused solely on getting back at the kids who pushed her over the edge. Befriending a cool new guy at school helps to broaden her horizons, but when he gets entangled in her scheme, it looks like she might lose everything. Will The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door be worth it?

Author Karen Finneyfrock works magic on the page here. We get glimpses of the real Celia, an earnest, slightly nerdy poet, and we can see she’s not cut out for vengeance or darkness. Flashbacks to her mistreatment by classmates are unsparing, though, and it’s easy to understand why she wants so badly to even the score. Celia’s parents are divorcing and think her acting out is a response to them, which leaves her even more alone.

New BFF Drake is a delight, just finding his way in the world and looking for order amid the chaos. His reliance on a kooky self-help book to aid in his coming-out process is both hilarious and poignant. When Celia sticks up for Drake and he drops to one knee and proposes friendship, she thinks: “I didn’t say anything at first because I wanted to see how long those words could hang in the air. Best friend. Best friend. Best friend.

Readers will like Celia and pull for her to learn that being true to herself is the sweetest revenge of all.

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