Complex Solutions

Young Adult - Social Issues
315 Pages
Reviewed on 05/29/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Complex Solutions is a young adult drama and the debut novel of author Susan Dalessandro. Lexi Thompson is a high school junior who suffers from regular bouts of anxiety and depression, leading her to perform self-inflicted cuts upon herself. Feeling guilt-ridden after her parents' deaths in a car crash, all Lexi wants is to go unnoticed through life. However, the past comes back to haunt her once again when she receives a letter from the Atlantic Math Center, asking her to provide copies of her parents' research on one of the oldest unsolved math theorems. With the help of her classmate Joe Biondi -- a fellow math enthusiast and her crush -- Lexi sets off to find her parents' research. But her secret continues to alienate her from her friends and family.

Susan Dalessandro explores some serious issues faced by high school teenagers and crafts an engaging story that incorporates them seamlessly. Complex Solutions highlights topics such as bullying, anxiety, depression, and self-harm in a thoughtful and nuanced manner that provides the narrative with an added sense of depth and authenticity. The characters feel genuine and relatable. Lexi's feelings of insecurity and isolation make her realistic and human, which is thoroughly riveting to read. Her relationship with Joe, and to a lesser extent Sarah, keep her grounded and act as anchors to a normal life. I found myself intrigued by the mathematical theorems mentioned in the book. Overall, I found Complex Solutions to be a stellar debut novel. If you're a fan of young adult books, you should definitely check it out.