It took 17 years for Aggi and Max to fall in love but just one night to lose each other.
Next-door neighbors in rural North Carolina, Aggi Frank and Maxwell Granger took years to admit that they were in love. Their romance felt like it could last forever—until Max’s brother, Cal, died in a car accident while Aggi’s sister, Kate, was driving. Kate’s role in the accident drove her to commit suicide just 10 days after Cal passed away. The double tragedy tore the Frank and Granger families apart, culminating in a restraining order that prevented Aggi and Max from talking, let alone dating. For a year, Aggi and Max followed the rules and avoided each other until the night their best friends, Umé and Henry, plotted to bring the two together to mend their broken hearts. Rufener’s (Where I Live, 2018) treatment of grief is nuanced and deeply felt, and Aggi’s and Max’s complex feelings about themselves, their families, and their aborted romance drive the skillfully crafted narrative. Unfortunately, Kate and Cal, whose deaths are the reason behind the book, are disappointingly two-dimensional, overly wise, almost magical older siblings rather than fully formed characters. Aggi, Max, and Henry are from working-class families, Umé is queer, and all main characters are white.
A compelling story about grief told through the voices of two expertly drawn protagonists. (Romance. 14-18)