Arc Review: Kind of Sort of Fine by Spencer Hall

Title: Kind of Sort of Fine
Author: Spencer Hall
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: June 22nd, 2021
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Senior year changes everything for two teens in this poignant, funny coming-of-age story that looks at what happens when the image everyone has of us no longer matches who we really are.

Senior year of high school is full of changes.

For Hayley Mills, these changes aren’t exactly welcome. All she wants is for everyone to forget about her very public breakdown and remember her as the overachiever she once was—and who she’s determined to be again. But it’s difficult to be seen as a go-getter when she’s forced into TV Production class with all the slackers like Lewis Holbrook.

For Lewis, though, this is going to be his year. After a summer spent binging 80s movies, he’s ready to upgrade from the role of self-described fat, funny sidekick to leading man of his own life—including getting the girl. The only thing standing in his way is, well, himself.

When the two are partnered up in class, neither is particularly thrilled. But then they start making mini documentaries about their classmates’ hidden talents, and suddenly Hayley is getting attention for something other than her breakdown, and Lewis isn’t just a background character anymore. It seems like they’re both finally getting what they want—except what happens when who you’ve become isn’t who you really are?” (Goodreads)

The book follows two point-of-views: Hayley and Lewis. Both are very different students and have different things that interest them. I am glad I had the chance to read this one as both of the main characters really resonated with me when it came to my time in high school and even now as an adult.

Hayley is an A student who took harder classes and played Tennis for an extracurricular activity until it all became too much and she had a breakdown in front of her school.

Lewis is the guy that sits in the background but cracks jokes about his weight before anyone gets the chance to. He slides through high school on C’s but enjoys his TV production class.

They both come together when they are paired in the TV production and life becomes a bit different, especially for Lewis.

When it came to Hayley, I may not have been as outgoing when it came to classwork but I did push myself to get good grades. Everything she was going through led to a breakdown and even though I never had one in front of a lot of people, I understand where she is coming from. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves and one day it may just make us crack. I did like seeing how she coped with that situation, sometimes she didn’t always make the best choices, but it also showed her going to a therapist which can be stigmatized.

Lewis was also easy to understand because I’ve been there, and still am, as the larger one. It sucks a lot. I never got bullied in school like he did for that particular reason but even just small comments from family can be enough to just not make you feel important. Even while losing weight he didn’t have much support but still stuck to it. I appreciated seeing him still thriving and trying to be better even when it was hard.

There were some great moments between them when it came to their TV production project. I also had a lot of laughs at other moments in the book and even if some of the jokes weren’t my taste (although they would be for teens) I liked the comedic relief to take away from the harder topics at hand.

The plot does have a bit of romance but it is very minor. I’m actually glad for this as it left more time for them to grow and it didn’t push the, “you need to be in a relationship to be fixed”. Everything had it’s timing.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read.

3 thoughts on “Arc Review: Kind of Sort of Fine by Spencer Hall

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