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by Jeff Garvin

Pub Date: April 14th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-06-238289-4
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

A bipolar teen pushes her washed-up magician father toward one last redemptive deception.

Ten years ago, Ellie Dante’s father ruined his career when he flubbed a trick called the Truck Drop on national TV. Not long after, Ellie’s mother died by suicide. Ellie and her dad fled to Fort Wayne, Indiana, eking out a living performing magic at birthday parties and weddings. But bookings have dwindled and they can’t make lot rent for their RV or afford the medications for Ellie’s bipolar disorder or her dad’s heart condition. They’ve resorted to using their sleight-of-hand talents to commit petty theft when Ellie gets the offer that might save them: Re-create the Truck Drop, live from Hollywood, for a pile of cash. Ellie has to figure out how to get them across the country, prise the necessary props out of a reclusive millionaire’s hands, persuade her father to overcome his demons, and pull off the trick, all the while battling the mounting effects of her lack of medication. Ellie is a talented magician herself but is afraid of the effect performing has on her brain, and the trip itself takes a toll. Garvin’s (Symptoms of Being Human, 2016) portrayal of Ellie’s bipolar experience is exceptional; the world of magic is also superbly rendered. The story lags a bit in the middle, but its strengths more than make up for its shortcomings. All main characters are white.

Very, very good.

(author’s note, resources) (Fiction. 12-18)