Manipulative boy meets self-destructive girl in a love story gone wrong.
Amelia Gannon, better known as “just Gannon,” meets Brooks, a blue-haired foster kid, outside a skate park. She’s smoking a menthol cigarette, and he’s huffing a spray can. Gannon has felt invisible ever since her parents adopted three young Guatemalan street kids, who trash the house regularly and torture animals for fun (it would be easy to get the impression here that adopted children are destined to lead troubled lives). After one of her parents’ many fights, Gannon cuts herself in a sudden but evocatively described scene. Unsettlingly, Brooks sees her too—he’s snuck in through her window. Gannon is understandably skeptical of the boy who disappears for days, then shows up in her room, at her workplace or anywhere else he thinks she might be. At the same time, her desire for attention and the connection the two eventually share are believable. The destructive path Gannon and Brooks take involves more cutting, drug use, drug dealing, stints at juvenile hall and a rehab facility, and ultimately an escape to a grim new life. The resolution is disturbing (and a bit abrupt), but readers are left with some hope.
Harrowing, if sometimes over-the-top. (Fiction. 14-18)