When a mysterious package offers aspiring ballerina Sylvie a clue regarding her missing older sister’s whereabouts, she leaps at the chance to find Julia and bring her home.
It’s been one year since 16-year-old Sylvie’s sister Julia left New York; one year spent trying to fill her shoes at the National Ballet Theatre Academy while everyone pretends Julia didn’t overdose on painkillers after a career-ending injury. The only sibling still living at home—artist brother Everett lives in Nashville—Sylvie navigates lingering feelings of betrayal, grief, and guilt alone until she discovers a cryptic list of names in her childhood book of fairy tales. Believing this is Julia’s call for help, she embarks on a road trip with her best friend’s inscrutable older brother, Jack, down the East Coast to find the people on the list and, hopefully, Julia herself. Against a soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac, Sylvie and Jack grow closer, exploring class differences, familial anxieties, and their own distinct identities in the process, but the real love story is between Sylvie and her siblings. McNally’s (Girls in the Moon, 2016, etc.) vivid imagery and exquisite, poetic language—with an ever so slightly sinister undercurrent—weave shimmering, slow-building tension throughout. Most major characters appear straight and white, but some secondary characters are people of color and gay men.
This ode to sisterhood and strength leads up to an unexpected and thoroughly satisfying conclusion. (resources) (Fiction. 13-18)