Lark’s boyfriend, Alec, is injured trying to rescue Annabelle, the 4-year-old Lark used to babysit, and both are drowning; when she’s unable to choose whom to save, Lark’s world splits in two.
Seventeen-year-old Lark and her father still miss her mother, who died from cancer three years ago. Lark’s close cohort of friends include musicians in the band she plays in and writes songs for. For the Lark who chose to save Alec, their relationship quickly becomes all-consuming. She brushes off her friend Lucy and the band to free climb buildings, longboard, and canoodle with Alec. The adrenaline rush helps her cope with little Annabelle’s hospitalization. Visiting Annabelle, now comatose, propels Lark into her alternative self and a world where Alec lies comatose and Annabelle thrives. Here, Lark maintains her friendships and progresses as a songwriter, while her growing shoplifting habit reflects her anxiety about Alec’s dire prognosis. In both worlds, mysterious cellphone messages and videos nudge Lark toward solving the riddle, but time is running out for Alec, whose parents plan to end life support soon. Pedestrian characters reflecting overfamiliar YA stereotypes, Lark especially, weigh down a suspenseful narrative that’s timidly executed just when it needs to take flight. All characters are white except band member Reid, the son of Iraqi refugees.
An eerie, intriguing premise and fast-moving plot hampered by clichéd characters and a flat resolution. (Paranormal romance. 14-17)