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That's Debatable

That's Debatable

by Jen Doll

Narrated by Justis Bolding, Nick Mills

Unabridged — 9 hours, 11 minutes

Jen Doll
That's Debatable

That's Debatable

by Jen Doll

Narrated by Justis Bolding, Nick Mills

Unabridged — 9 hours, 11 minutes

Jen Doll

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Overview

Millicent Chalmers isn't here to make friends.

She's here to win, and she's on track to set a record if-no, when-she wins the state debate tournament for the fourth year in a row. Calm, cool, and always in control, Millie doesn't care what anyone thinks of her, least of all the sexist bullies
bent on destroying her reputation.

Taggart Strong couldn't care less about winning debate, much to the consternation of his teammates, school, and parents. In fact, he might even enjoy losing, as long as the side he believes in wins.

But when a tournament takes a scary turn, Millie and Tag find themselves unexpectedly working together. Maybe Millie can teach Tag a thing or two about using his head, and Tag can teach Millie a little bit about following her heart.

In this witty, smart, and feminist romantic comedy, author Jen Doll explores what it means to set boundaries while you're breaking down barriers.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

05/23/2022

High school debate has a lot of rules, and 17-year-old white Millicent “Millie” Chalmers follows every single one, including the unspoken guidelines for girls: smile, don’t yell, never get emotional, and always wear pantyhose. It’s annoying, but, she believes, worth it, especially when winning guarantees college scholarship opportunities. Taggart “Tag” Strong, also white, 17, and an opposing debater in the same Alabama league, won’t argue something he doesn’t believe. Though his principles cost him debate wins and put him at odds with his best friend and debate captain, he refuses to waver. After bonding during an active shooter situation while they’re at a competition, Millie teaches Tag how to stay true to himself and win. But when an aggressive smear campaign threatens Millie’s win-streak, the pair must confront debate’s toxic environment while navigating a budding romance. Though Millie’s and Tag’s characterizations can feel formulaic and the narrative follows a sedate pace, rival schools fighting dirty, overarching feminist themes, and contemplations on sexism and privilege provide intrigue. PW contributor and former high school competitor Doll’s (Unclaimed Baggage) passion for debate is genuine and infectious, and the protagonists’ alternating perspectives make for a persuasive read. Debate terms and customs are explained throughout. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ryan D. Harbage, Fischer-Harbage Agency. (July)

From the Publisher

Rise: A Feminist Book Project List Honoree

"Millie’s unapologetic battle against sexism is inspiring, and Tag’s reckoning with his privilege is heartening. Weighty issues and the quirky rivals-to-lovers romance are given equal attention . . . An unusual, thought-provoking take on advocating for oneself and others." —Kirkus Reviews

"Both main characters are well-developed as individuals within a novel that explores the hostility, harassment, and other challenges faced by many girls who choose to enter the traditionally male-dominated world of debating. Drawing readers into that sphere, this detailed, engaging story delivers both happiness and justice in the end." —Booklist

"PW contributor and former high school competitor Doll’s (Unclaimed Baggage) passion for debate is genuine and infectious, and the protagonists’ alternating perspectives make for a persuasive read." —Publishers Weekly

"Doll’s ­well-developed inspirational character arcs show Millie’s and Tag’s separate journeys to become voices for change. Additional depth is provided by edifying, and sometimes playful, footnotes. Informed by her own high school debate experience, Doll includes an extensive personal note that adds to the authenticity of issues explored in the novel." —School Library Journal

School Library Journal

07/01/2022

Gr 9 Up—Doll's contemporary romance examines a series of serious societal issues such as gun control through the lens of high school debate tournaments. Millie's and Tag's story unfolds in short first-person alternating chapters over a debate season and follows the classic rivals-to-romance trope. Both teens are facing a pivotal post-secondary decision-making moment in their lives, but as they grow closer, and their relationship evolves, the striking difference between their situations and options becomes more and more evident. Millie suffers painful sexual harassment at the hands of her mostly male competitors and judges, and Tag confronts pressures to conform to parental expectations. Doll's well-developed inspirational character arcs show Millie's and Tag's separate journeys to become voices for change. Additional depth is provided by edifying, and sometimes playful, footnotes. Informed by her own high school debate experience, Doll includes an extensive personal note that adds to the authenticity of issues explored in the novel. Although the plot can sometimes feel overburdened, engaging extras such as Tag's recipes and defaced debate flyers lighten the tone and move the story forward. Trigger warning: the book opens with an active shooter episode that acts as catalyst for the couple's meet-cute in a school closet. Millie and Tag are both white. VERDICT Recommended where light romance with strong empowerment messages are popular. Hand to readers who enjoyed Michelle Quach's Not Here to Be Liked or Sayantani DasGupta's Debating Darcy. —Eva Thaler-Sroussi

Kirkus Reviews

2022-04-13
High school debaters discover that opposites attract.

For Millie Chalmers, winning the Alabama state debate tournament is everything. It guarantees lucrative scholarship opportunities—a boon for Millie and her overworked single mother. She can’t let anything interfere with her college plans: not pervasive sexual harassment and double standards, not dating, and certainly not saying how she really feels. But aspiring chef Tag Strong just wants to speak his mind, dismaying his ambitious parents and private school teammates. After an active shooter scare at a tournament brings Millie and Tag closer, they fall in love despite their opposing personalities. But as the final tournament approaches, mishaps and a vicious harassment campaign against Millie threaten to ruin not only her chances of winning, but the teens’ relationship. In alternating first-person chapters, Millie and Tag reflect on each other, parental expectations, and their debate topics, which—echoing the plot—include gun ownership, income inequality, and speaking out against injustice. Footnotes pepper their narratives with definitions, citations, and snarky asides. Twitter threads and recipes for Tag’s culinary creations add variety and verisimilitude. Though the pacing is occasionally uneven, Millie’s unapologetic battle against sexism is inspiring, and Tag’s reckoning with his privilege is heartening. Weighty issues and the quirky rivals-to-lovers romance are given equal attention. Millie and Tag are White; secondary characters bring some ethnic diversity.

An unusual, thought-provoking take on advocating for oneself and others. (author's note) (Fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176032215
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date: 08/30/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews