Part of the six-book Counterattack series by Paul Hobin, Archenemy tells the story of Addie, a biracial, teenage female soccer player in North Carolina coming to terms with her developing same-sex attraction. While her parents are supportive of her, there is a scene with an unsupportive minister at her church.
The story follows Addie as she quickly connects with Eva, another soccer enthusiast, and the two become fast friends. The girls come out to each other, but Addie does not want a relationship while Eva desires more than simple friendship. The friendship sours, and Eva kisses a boy rejecting her same-sex desires after being rejected by Addie.
The word lesbian never appears in Archenemy, and there is no intimacy except for Eva’s post-rejection heterosexual kiss. The story is actually more about bullying than same-sex attraction, but Addie’s feelings do come off as very authentic. Unfortunately, the resolution is weak and contrived, as if the author had written himself into a corner. Nevertheless, Archenemy is very accessible to teens–gay or straight–who want to avoid a more complex novel. The whole Counterattack series is clearly intended for teens who do not want to read a book much over 100 pages.
Reviewer: Carolyn Caywood