A group of high school seniors become orphans after a deadly plane crash.
Dayana Calderón was home, cyberstalking old friends during a pharma-induced high the night of the accident. Popular twins Josie and Jack Clay were throwing “the biggest blowout River Bank High School had ever seen.” It was a total fluke that Archie Gallagher, with his ever present sketchbook and dorky glasses, was there along with the socially awkward Harrison Rebkin, who has frequent panic attacks. The former preschool buddies had long since grown apart, but their parents were vacationing together when tragedy struck. Josie is a gorgeous blonde haunted by memories of childhood sexual abuse. “Ginormous shaved-headed” Jack is a white football star with ADHD and a demanding father. Dayana is Costa Rican and has a penchant for purple hair and facial piercings. Archie, a self-proclaimed “black art nerd,” has white adoptive parents and a younger brother—his parents’ biological child—who is a well-adjusted, gay teen. Harrison, who is white and Jewish, struggles with pressure from his single mother’s high expectations. These estranged friends grieve together, discover romance and long-lost friendships—and stumble across dark secrets. It’s a lot to unpack, as debut novelist Kreizman front-loads the book with a dense and soapy premise. Some readers will love the melodrama, but others may sense bathos in the contrast between the tremendous tragedy and the more quotidian high school concerns.
Teen drama abounds in this story about loss and love. (Fiction. 13-16)