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tion some steamy romance scenes. It’s Lena’s
well-directed therapy sessions, though, that
help her ultimately come to grips with the
consequences of her inaction. This nuanced
portrayal of guilt and redemption is a great
pick for fans of Cynthia Hand’s The Last Time
We Say Goodbye (2015). —Diane Colson
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A hefty
promotional campaign should keep the buzz
building for this New York Times best-selling
author’s latest novel.
A Line in the Dark.
By Malinda Lo.
Oct. 2017. 288p. Dutton, $17.99 (9780735227422).
Four girls teeter upon the precarious line
between love and obsession in Lo’s arresting psychological thriller. Sixteen-year-old
Jess would do anything for her best friend
Angie, anything but accept her beautiful,
athletic new girlfriend, Margot, an entitled
snob from Pearson Brooke School. Jess, who
is attending art class at Pearson through an
exchange program, has heard stories of Margot’s and her friend Ryan’s merciless bullying.
When her attempts to show Angie the truth
backfire, Jess finds herself gradually carved
out of Angie’s life. Uncertain of who she is
without Angie to revolve around, Jess has to
make sure that the moment Angie needs her
again, she’ll be there. The bulk of the story
is told brilliantly from Jess’ tightly observed
perspective, her observations colored by intense jealousy and desire, the truth of which
is doled out in subtle moments and expressive
language. Though the late shift to a distant
third person is jarring, Lo (Inheritance, 2013)
uses it to further stoke a sense of foreboding
that doesn’t let up until the unpredictable
conclusion. —Krista Hutley
By Jennifer Mathieu.
Sept. 2017. 336p. Roaring Brook, $17.99
(9781626726352). Gr. 9–12.
Vivian’s mom was a rebel. In the nineties, she
followed her favorite punk-rock bands across
the Pacific Northwest and championed the Riot
Grrrl movement. When Vivian’s father died
a few months after Vivian
was born, her mom returned
home. Vivian, raised in East
Rockport, Texas, where
high-school football stars are
king and their bad behavior
is excused by a blind-eyed
administration, is a mild-
mannered good girl. But
when she witnesses a sexist incident in class,
she is disturbed. One trip to a copy store later,
and Moxie is born: an anonymous, Riot Grrrl–
inspired zine that contains both a diatribe and
a call to action. These actions start small, but
as more girls become involved, the movement
grows, protesting everything from an unfairly
enforced dress code to sexual harassment. The
novel’s triumphs—and there are many—lie
in the way the zine opens Vivian’s eyes to the
way girls are treated, and to the additional
roadblocks that her classmates of color face.
Though the novel presents plenty of differing
opinions, it never once pits girl against girl, and
Vivian struggles with how to navigate a bur-
geoning relationship with a well-intentioned
boy who doesn’t always understand what she’s
fighting for. From an adult perspective, some
of the ripped-from-the-headlines issues might
seem like old news, but for teens like Vivian,
who are just discovering how to stand up—and
what to stand up for—this is an invaluable rev-
elation. —Maggie Reagan
By Claire Zorn.
Oct. 2017. 288p. Sourcebooks/Fire, $17.99
(9781492652137). Gr. 8–11.
It’s been almost a year since the car accident that killed Hannah’s older sister, Katie.
But Katie’s voice still makes snarky remarks
in Hannah’s head, and her bedroom is an untouched shrine in their home. Before Katie’s
death, bookish Hannah was the target of bullies at their high school. Now that Hannah
is the sister of a dead girl, however, her classmates keep their distance, offering Hannah a
kind of protection that a living Katie never
afforded. Zorn’s portrayal of a complicated
relationship between sisters who are close in
age but very different in personality is believable, as is the morass of guilt and anger that
has enveloped Hannah’s family. Hannah was
in the car, driven by their father, at the time
of the accident, but she can’t remember those
final moments that could place her father at
fault. With the help of an excellent counselor and a new friend, Hannah gradually
gains the courage to face the truth of the accident. Originally published in Australia, this
character-driven novel should satisfy fans of
Fiona Wood. —Diane Colson
A Short History of the Girl Next Door.
By Jared Reck.
Sept. 2017. 272p. Knopf, $17.99 (9781524716073); lib.
ed., $20.99 (9781524716080). Gr. 8–11.
Matt and Tabby have been neighbors and
best friends since they were babies. Now they
are freshmen in high school, and Matt has
fallen in love with Tabby. To his dismay, hand-
some, highly likable senior, Branson, is falling
for Tabby as well. It’s exquisitely painful for
Matt to witness Tabby’s delight, but he tries
to ignore his feelings and channels his frustra-
tions into basketball. Then Matt loses Tabby
forever. In this debut novel, Reck creates a
realistic and moving portrait of a 14-year-old
guy clobbered by a grief he cannot express.
Matt is a funny, good-natured teen until the
tragedy, and in the days and weeks that fol-
low, he copes by maintaining surface-level
denial while a roiling mass of anger builds
within. Sympathetic adults intervene to help
get Matt on track without providing pat solu-
tions, much like the adult characters in Chris
Crutcher novels. Pair this with other novels
that explore loss from a male perspective, such
as Jeff Zetner’s Goodbye Days (2017) or Adam
Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me (2017).
By Geoffrey Girard.
Aug. 2017. 360p. Carolrhoda/Lab, $17.99
(9781512427790). Gr. 9–12.
Seventeen-year-old Katie Wallace’s world
crumbles the day her father, Scott, beats up
a coworker and is taken to a mental hospital,
claiming he knows the truth about the 9/11
attacks. After that, events move quickly, with
Katie determined to obtain her father’s release, and then, as she digs deeper, trying to
find out what happened on that fateful day.
Was it a hoax that she and Scott were involved
in? If not, why are strange men following her,
and what is it they want? Although there’s lots
that is implausible here, especially a scene in
which Katie must decide whether to allow a
government agent to be tortured, this moves
at a fast clip, and readers will get caught up in
both the conspiracy construct (actual Truther
theories are explored) and the romance that is
as tangled as the web of confusion surrounding 9/11. Readers may come away with just a
few answers to the many questions the book
poses, but for those who like their action stories with a political bent, this should satisfy.
By Wendelin Van Draanen.
Sept. 2017. 320p. Knopf, $17.99 (9781101940440); lib.
ed., $20.99 (9781101940457). Gr. 8–12.
Loneliness, a bad crowd, and a downward
spiral led 14-year-old Wren to this: while on a
midnight bender, she’s dragged to the airport
and shipped off. Wren’s parents, concerned
for both Wren’s health and safety and their
own, have sent her to a wilderness therapy
camp. Angry and resistant, Wren has no intention of learning how to find water or build
a fire, until it becomes apparent that, out
here, those skills are essential. Despite herself,
Wren is slowly won over by the harsh beauty
of the Utah desert and by her fellow campers.
The story alternates between Wren’s experiences in the desert and her flashbacks to the
decisions—and friends—that led her there.
Van Draanen, always versatile, frankly tackles
teen drug use and recovery in a book that’s
less gritty, and often less bleak, than an Ellen
Hopkins novel. Ultimately, everything comes
together a bit neatly, but for readers who have
come to root for Wren—an out-of-control
girl who learns to ask for help—that’s not
such a bad thing. —Maggie Reagan
Auma’s Long Run.
By Eucabeth Odhiambo.
Sept. 2017. 304p. Carolrhoda, $17.99 (9781512427844).
In her impressive debut, Odhiambo throws
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