May 15, 2017 Booklist 51 www.booklistonline.com
and believable false leads. The story begins
in Canada as the con artist narrator fakes
an identity as Daniel Tate, a child who went
missing six years ago from his wealthy California town. But our narrator doesn’t bargain
for the Tate family showing up in Vancouver
and collecting him without any questions—
because that family has a lot to hide, too.
Alcoholism, violent tempers, substance abuse,
incest, infidelity: only Danny’s little sister Mia
seems completely innocent. Our narrator
isn’t, of course, Daniel Tate . . . so what really
happened to Daniel? Terrill builds and holds
suspense while adroitly working in issues of
wealth, class, race, and sexual orientation. Sophisticated readers with a penchant for noir
will enjoy the cleverly designed plot and subtle characterization. —Debbie Carton
House of Furies.
By Madeleine Roux. Illus. by Iris
May 2017. 416p. Harper Teen, $17.99 (9780062498618).
Life has been cruel to Louisa Ditton, an Irish
girl in the early nineteenth century, who ekes
out a living telling fortunes, ever since fleeing
her oppressive boarding school. When an old
woman offers her employment as a maid in a
place called Coldthistle House, it seems like a
boon: a roof, a hot meal, and companionship
are all things that Louisa lacks. But Coldthistle is no ordinary boardinghouse. After a
ghostly supernatural encounter, Coldthistle’s
young-seeming owner, Mr. Morningside, explains the truth: the house attracts boarders
who have committed terrible misdeeds, and
when they arrive, the staff exacts a swift and
savage justice. Louisa refuses to acknowledge
her own connection to the house and fears for
the safety of one gentle boarder. From eerie
prologue to gory end, this gothic tale is imbued with a lingering sense of unease, offering
up a Faustian plot that explores the darkest
pits of human nature. Atmospheric and troubling, this series starter will sink its hooks
into readers as surely as it frightens them.
I See London, I See France.
By Sarah Mlynowski.
July 2017. 336p. Harper Teen, $17.99 (9780062397072).
What could go wrong when you’ve mapped
out a four-and-a-half-week backpack trip
through Europe with your best friend? Plenty,
it turns out. Nineteen-year-old Sydney and
Leela planned to trek around Europe, see the
sights, kiss hot boys, and have a summer they’d
never forget. But when Leela’s ex-boyfriend
shows up unexpectedly, even the best-laid
plans fall apart. Meanwhile, Sydney has her
own issues, continually having to check in
with her sister, who’s caring for their agora-
phobic mother. From London to Amsterdam,
Bruges to Paris, Interlaken and the South of
France, the girls navigate not only unfamil-
iar geography but also unfamiliar emotions,
situations, and an abundance of drama. Mly-
nowski’s latest is best suited to older teens and
new adult readers due to an overload of drink-
ing, lusting, and getting high, plus a running
narrative involving a sex show. That said, who
wouldn’t want to have a European adventure
and fall in and out of love on a dime? The
abrupt ending of this rambunctious sum-
mer romp signals there’s likely a sequel in the
works. —Jeanne Fredriksen
Juan Pablo and the Butterflies.
By J. J. Flowers.
May 2017. 224p. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, $17.99
(9781507202142). Gr. 9–12.
In the otherwise quiet butterfly sanctuary of El Rosario, Mexico, Juan Pablo (JP), a
thoughtful teen who loves playing his violin,
recognizes the sound of drug traffickers that
have taken over his town. His abuela, a doctor and naturalist, lies on her deathbed, from
which she directs him to follow the butterflies’ migration to Pacific Grove, California.
First, though, JP takes desperate measures
to save his dearest friend, Rocio, from his
town’s violent drug dealers. His actions yield
a more dangerous result than anticipated, and
JP must use his talent, wit, and abuela’s sage
words to get himself and Rocio to safety. A
thrilling series of events ensue that keep the
reader wondering if the teens will make it
to California alive. An abundance of heart-pounding action makes this a page-turner
that adroitly deals with immigration, drug
trafficking, and human rights issues. The
story’s violence is offset by remembered conversations with abuela—both amusing and
insightful—and the tender relationship between two young adults who have spent their
lives together. —Jeanne Fredriksen
Little & Lion.
By Brandy Colbert.
Aug. 2017. 336p. Little, Brown, $17.99
(9780316349000); e-book, $9.99 (9780316348980).
Suzette’s back in California for the summer
after spending the year at boarding school in
New England, and she’s looking forward to
being back home, though
she’s nervous about reuniting with her stepbrother,
Lion. Before she left for
school, she broke a promise
to Lion and told their parents his bipolar disorder was
getting out of control. Now
that she’s back, she’s worried
she irrevocably altered their relationship, and
while she’s trying to rebuild it, Lion starts
to spiral again. Meanwhile, Suzette is facing
some new truths about herself, too. At boarding school, she was surprised to fall hard for
her roommate, Iris, and back home, she’s even
more surprised to discover feelings for her old
friend Emil, her mother’s best friend’s son.
As the plot bounces back and forth in time,
Colbert juggles all the moving parts expertly,
handily untangling Suzette’s complicated feel-
ings about herself and her relationships and
gradually illuminating pithy moments of dis-
covery. One of many notable strengths here
is Colbert’s subtle, neatly interwoven explora-
tion of intersectionality: Lion is desperate to
be defined by something other than his bi-
polar disorder, and Suzette learns to navigate
key elements of her identity—black, Jewish,
bisexual—in a world that seems to want her
to be only one thing. This superbly written
novel teems with meaningful depth, which is
perfectly balanced by romance and the lan-
guid freedom of summer. —Sarah Hunter
By Meredith Miller.
June 2017. 368p. Harper Teen, $17.99 (9780062474254).
Magda, Ruth, and Isabel are simmering
with anger over their circumstances in their
small town on Long Island in the 1970s.
Magda drowns out her alcoholic father’s abuse
by fixing things. Reckless Isabel dreams of escaping the dead-end town full of men with
wandering hands. Ruth silently seethes over
her mother’s new boyfriend, while worrying
over the state of her own sanity. For years
now, the three girls have remained in a tight
orbit, protecting and supporting each other,
but fissures are starting to appear in their
connections, and they spiral away from one
another—Ruth seeking revenge, Isabel lashing out in anger, and Magda seeking comfort
from someone just as bad as her father. Miller’s gauzy, breathy narrative dips in and out
of each girl’s perspective, enough that they
sometimes blend together, but by the end,
each character has started to crystallize into
something more distinct. The languorous pacing and indirect storytelling might frustrate
fans of plot-driven narratives, but readers
who adore lyrical, character-driven fiction
with a gritty edge will find plenty to love here.
Of Jenny and the Aliens.
By Ryan Gebhart.
Aug. 2017. 368p. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763688455).
Earth has just gotten word of intelligent life
on another planet. Derek is about to turn 18,
lose his virginity, fall in love, smoke up with
an alien, see his broken family start to mend,
and either broker world
peace or an intergalactic
war. It’s going to be a busy
month. Derek is a lovable,
imperfect doofus, aimlessly
floating through life since
learning about his dad’s secret second family. Jenny,
strong willed and quirky, is
mourning her older brother, who was killed
in a distant military conflict. When she and
Derek hook up, he falls for her hard—hard
enough that when it becomes clear nothing
short of world peace will make Jenny his and
only his, our hero rises to the challenge. Gebhart’s ( There Will Be Bears, 2014) young-adult
debut is beautifully, challengingly weird. The