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CRASHING IN LOVE by Jennifer Richard Jacobson


by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5362-1153-5
Publisher: Candlewick

Twelve-year-old Peyton plays detective after rescuing a hit-and-run victim who she hopes could become her summer boyfriend.

It doesn’t take Peyton long after finding Gray unconscious to start imagining their would-be romance. It’s summer in Mussel Cove, and she’s working the beat in the small coastal Maine town, on the hunt for whomever hit and then abandoned Gray, all while he’s in the hospital in a coma. Her search for justice teaches her a lot about first impressions and assumptions as she realizes that life lies perplexingly in between black and white. While Jacobson tries to convey some of that complexity, it unfortunately mostly falls flat. Peyton’s older sisters feel generic, and her divorced parents hit the obvious tropes. There are flashes of depth, as in the sisters’ conversation about what split up their parents and in the moment her father stands up to her unforgiving grandmother. But overall, the story stays on the surface. The suspense around what will happen to Gray and the mystery of who hit him keep the plot plodding along, but everything is resolved almost too quickly in the end. Jacobson succeeds, however, at writing Peyton as a believable tween girl with age-appropriate concerns, friends, and interests. The main characters are presumed White; cues such as a name or hairstyle may be intended to identify background characters of color.

A middle-of-the-road coming-of-age mystery.

(Mystery. 9-12)