The Calculus of Change

The Calculus of Change

Book - 2018
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A poignant and empowering teen novel of grief, unrequited love, and finding comfort in one's own skin.

Aden isn't looking for love in her senior year. She's much more focused on things like getting a solo gig at Ike's and keeping her brother from illegal herbal recreation. But when Tate walks into Calculus class wearing a yarmulke and a grin, Aden's heart is gone in an instant.

The two are swept up in a tantalizingly warm friendship, complete with long drives with epic soundtracks and deep talks about life, love, and spirituality. With Tate, Aden feels closer to her mom--and her mom's faith--than she has since her mother died years ago. Everyone else--even Aden's brother and her best friend--can see their connection, but does Tate?

Navigating uncertain romance and the crises of those she loves, Aden must decide how she chooses to see herself and how to honor her mom's memory.

Publisher: Boston : Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780544953338
Branch Call Number: TEEN HIL
Characteristics: 317 pages ;,22 cm


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A coming-of-age teen novel written by Jessie Hilb, "The Calculus of Change" revolves around a teenager named Aden, a senior year who definitely isn't looking for love. But her heart doesn't feel the same, and she falls for Tate, who is in her calculus class. Aden's life definitely doesn't need one more problem, as she already has enough to deal with: her mother's death 10 years ago, her brother's drug problem, her dad's anger at her mom's death, her best friend's affair with her teacher, as well as her own body image insecurity. Navigating through her many dilemmas, Aden must decide who she is inside.

Overall, the book was quite engrossing and really hooked me in. I didn't want to stop reading until the end. The book tackled many sensitive issues, but it didn't really delve into any specific one in detail. Aden herself was a very likable character, who was really funny and blunt. She made some mistakes and she owned up to them, and her connections with her mother and how she interacted with the people around her were very interesting as well. One thing I didn't like was how the book made some attempts to touch on some intense deep stuff but it never really achieved that. I had no really strong emotions towards this book and the whole thing felt kinda meh when it should have been tugging at your feelings. Another thing (this is not really that serious but) is that the title is called "The Calculus of Change" and there was almost no calculus involved in the story plot. The very few connections to calculus were weak and did not affect the story much. In fact, Aden's music is a lot bigger theme than the calculus, so maybe the title should reflect that. The book is already published, so nothing can change about that, but I just wanted to say that.

I would give this book a 4/5, and I would recommend this book to readers aged 14+.
(Reviewed by Sean Y. for the CloverdaleTeenBookReviewProject.)

“The Calculus of Change” by Jessie Hilb is an eye-opening tale of self-discovery and determination. Aden is a high-school senior hopelessly in love with classmate Tate, who is already in a relationship, creating a uniquely complicated love triangle. The two embark upon a friendship that constantly leaves readers wanting more, as their spark is remarkable.
Although the first few chapters were a little slow, once you delve into the complicated connections between all of the various personalities it’s very difficult to put down. I really loved the relationship between Aden and her best friend Marissa, and following the dramatic ups and downs of their friendship. Jessie Hilb did an amazing job regarding the description of the backstories for each character, providing the perfect amount of detail while still leaving enough room for readers’ imaginations. The connection between the protagonist and her younger brother, Jon, was very powerful and realistic. Like all siblings, they go through their difficult family moments. The chemistry between Aden and Tate sparkled throughout the entire novel, and the characters were displayed so well that I felt the same emotions they did throughout the plot.
“The Calculus of Change” is not just a stereotypical love story. Real conflicts arise in Aden’s family throughout the story, making it that much more of an exciting read. I found it very interesting how Jessie Hilb portrayed the characters in a realistic way; not one of them are perfect, and that’s the way it should be. Although this is only her first novel, I already cannot wait to read her next one! All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Young Adult Romance and/or Drama novels.
Reviewed by L.A. for The Cloverdale Teen Book Review Project

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