In 1984, one bad trip will completely change the course of Hannah Zandana’s teenage life.
Cumiskey transports her readers back to the 1980s, viewed through the kaleidoscope of big, feathered hair and Swatch watches. The largely white setting and the plot are, like, totally out of a John Hughes movies. And though Cumiskey’s timeline is a little bogus—for example, Beetlejuice came out in 1988—readers should be able to ignore minor flubs as they meet her cast: mean girls Gillian, Leeza, and Taylor tease and fluster Hannah until she feels she needs to prove her cool by scoring some LSD from Deacon, the local heartthrob/rich boy/drug dealer. When Deacon saves Hannah from a bad trip, sparks fly between the bad boy and the quirky girl. While Hannah’s story would be radical in ’84, its strengths may also be its weaknesses. For example, Hannah’s confrontation with Gillian ends when Hannah drops a homophobic slur to silence the mean girl. While this was considered humorous at one time, modern readers may find it jarring for the heroine of a book to use emotional blackmail in order to avoid bullying. Also, the question hangs: will readers get the gnarly ’80s references? These quibbles aside, Hannah’s story is primo, and the surprise twist of the epilogue will have readers stoked with anticipation for a sequel.
Overall, a tubular story for readers looking for their next great melodramatic love story. (Historical fiction. 13-17)