A smart, straight-laced teen who’s survived a terrifying crime falls hard for a boy from a family with a bad reputation in this summer romance shot through with suspense.
Jane yearns for happiness following the events of the year before, when her father, a police officer, came to her aid and was murdered while she was blindfolded and held at knife point during a burglary. However, summer has barely begun in their insular New England town when Jane suddenly finds herself pursued by gorgeous bad boy Handel. Her tightknit group of friends is convincingly divided in their opinions about the burgeoning relationship. In contrast, Jane’s mother, a talented seamstress whose work draws customers across the town’s sharply portrayed class divide, is believably supportive and open with her daughter, whom she pushes toward making some peace with the past even as she trusts her to make her own decisions about love and sex. The meandering, dreamy language—grass is “tender with the newness of life,” and Jane’s desire makes her heart “flutter like the wings of a hummingbird”—is perfect for the hazy, hot summer days depicted, though the mystery isn’t served as well by the languid pace.
Readers will likely solve the puzzle before Jane does, but fortunately, there’s plenty to enjoy here besides the whodunit. (Mystery. 14-18)