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Smash It!: 08/13/21
Smash It! by Francina Simone is a YA contemporary retelling of Othello (1603). Olivia "Liv" James is a wallflower who wants to expand her horizons. She has a fuck it list that has three rules:
One of the driving forces of Smash It! is the high school production of Othello. Like the middle grade novel, Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee (2017), the lives of the students participating in the play begin to mimic those of their roles.
I liked best the parts centered on the play. They're focused and funny. But there's a whole side plot where Liv is obsessed with the sex lives of her cast mates, especially a bi character who is very open with her sexual history. Frankly, this character's sexual exploits was one of the problematic aspects. It's not that she's sexually active — it's the sheer amount of experience she apparently has. Either she's lying or she was sexually abused as a child. More realistically, the author has compressed adult memories onto too young of a character in a similar fashion to Camp by Lev A.C. Rosen (2020).
Besides the teens having the sexual experience and knowledge of adults, there is also some racial 'humor' at Palestinians and Pacific Islanders. There are reviews on Goodreads that go into this problem in greater detail than I will here.