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by Ann Hood

Pub Date: May 23rd, 2023
ISBN: 9780593094105
Publisher: Penguin Workshop

A teen struggles to cope with her younger sister’s death in the follow-up to Jude Banks, Superhero (2021).

Ever since her younger sister, Halley, died from a peanut allergy two years ago, 14-year-old Clementine Marsh has felt like the world outside is overwhelming and that she’s trapped in a snow globe. Her new high school is chaotic, and gossip has made her a target of bullying. Her best friend moved to Vermont and feels like a stranger. Worst of all, her widowed mother has fallen in love. How can Clementine cope with losing Halley when it feels like she’s losing her mom too? Clementine’s narrative, which drifts between past and present, candidly explores depression and grief. Unfortunately, some scenes, such as Clementine’s vividly recounted suicide attempt, risk triggering readers with similar struggles, and there are no mental health resources included. Realistically, Clementine’s path toward healing is not linear; hopeful moments alternate with physical and verbal outbursts and periods of inertia. Readers will root for Clementine as she learns to manage her emotions with help from a support group, though Hood’s dashing of potentially positive developments becomes emotionally taxing. Most secondary characters are lightly developed, but Clementine’s relationship with her mother—who remains steadily supportive amid her own grief, worry, and exhaustion—is touchingly three-dimensional. Clementine reads White; secondary characters bring some diversity.

An unvarnished portrait of grief and healing; approach with care.

(Fiction. 12-14)