While both are volunteering at a Miami Beach retirement home, an aspiring astrophysicist and a young filmmaker befriend a famous octogenarian who’s presumed dead.
Ever since Linny’s 18-year-old older sister, Grace, disappeared five months earlier, leaving nothing but a note to take care of her pet turtle, Linny has kept a journal about missing people who’ve reappeared after weeks, months, and years. Mixed-race Linny’s Nigerian mother and “Viking” father fearfully keep a close watch on their remaining daughter and try to keep her focused on their goals of Princeton and med school. The summer before senior year, Linny is performing community service at a retirement community, where she spies 83-year-old Álvaro Herrera, the Cuban-born author of Midnight in Miami, a bestselling book adapted into a cult-movie classic. No one had seen or heard of Herrera in three years, and Linny believes if she discovers why he returned, Grace may as well. Cal Tech–bound science wiz Sebastian finds out that Álvaro is his long-lost father and immediately flies down to Miami to volunteer at the home in hopes of meeting his dad. Linny and Sebastian meet, adventure amiably around Miami on errands for Álvaro, and, predictably, fall in love. The author crowds the dual narration with occasionally distracting excerpts from Linny’s journal, a work-in-progress screenplay about Grace, and quotes from Sebastian’s favorite physics book.
This familiar-feeling if slightly overlong debut should resonate with fans of Morgan Matson, John Green, and Rainbow Rowell. (Fiction. 13-18)