California teens reunite to chase the memory of a dead friend.
Five years ago, when Nick Cline was only 11-years-old, he accidentally shot and killed 15-year-old Marley Bricket. Olivia Stanton idolized Marley, who was her older sister’s best friend and the leader of their group. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Olivia is even more consumed with thoughts about Marley, carrying her memory everywhere she goes. And after all these years it seems Nick—who has returned to town—feels the same way. The two soon uncover clues Marley has left for them to follow, and they gather the kids of Albany Lane to search for answers, closure, and perhaps even redemption. Olivia is an unreliable narrator and a manipulative individual who appears motivated by a desire to gain the power which Marley once lorded over her friends. Readers will enjoy the romance, dark humor, and bicycle-squad nostalgia as they move through an eerie and dangerous scavenger hunt. The uncertainty and suspense lead to questions of whether what’s unfolding is a ghost story or an elaborate suicide. The well-paced story offers an authentic exploration of grief, but the elaborate deceptions detract from readers’ ability to connect to that experience. Olivia, Nick, and Marley are white; there is diversity in secondary characters who are Latinx, Korean-American, black, and lesbian.
A thrilling, adventure-filled story that captures the anguish of losing a friend. (Fiction. 12-15)