An 11-turning-12-year-old girl looks for lost peacocks as a distraction from The Truth about the things that are changing in her life.
Cassie, short for Cassandra, is not unlike her namesake from the Greek myth: She is cursed to know the truth, but no one quite believes her. Australian debut writer Nugent employs this disarming narrator to take readers through a painful period of her life in which she gradually discovers (like a detective) that her grandfather is dying, her father is struggling with mental health issues, her mother needs to move out of the house in order to cope, and her only sister, at 15, is becoming her own person. What saves her are her connection to her family; her friendship with Jonas, a science-minded, fact-oriented soul; and honest interactions with her unpredictable schoolmate Rhea. Cassie is also an aspiring and conflicted writer with a propensity for capital letters who shares with readers the many components of a good story even as she is engaged in telling one. This idea-packed book strains credulity at times but is satisfying in its energy, style, and use of metaphor—most of all the peacock, symbol of vision and awakening. Characters present white.
Approaches tender topics with unflinching courage and aplomb. (Fiction. 8-12)