Sixteen-year-old Maddy Wakefield is dying of cancer, and in her last months, she has decided to find her biological father.
Maddy’s mother, Eve, raised Maddy on her own with the support of her parents and, eventually, Robin, a loving partner and father figure for Maddy. She always told Maddy that her father, Antonio, didn't want children. (At least he didn't want them with Eve.) Yet as Maddy endures the ever harder struggle with leukemia, she decides it’s time to contact him, and they quickly begin an email correspondence that Maddy decides to keep secret from Eve. While Maddy connects with her father, she also discovers first love with a boy named Jack Bell as they collaborate on a video project to raise awareness about climate change. The project inspires Maddy to turn her talents on herself, recording in her sketches the lines of her own mourning process, through increasingly emotionally raw self-portraits. After Maddy’s death, Eve discovers her correspondence with Antonio, but it is Maddy’s personal final edit of the animation project that triggers Eve’s quest to find Antonio herself. In this, her debut novel, Raney intimately portrays the complex relationship between Maddy and Eve, illuminating their secret struggles with cancer and each other. With chapters alternating between Maddy's and Eve’s perspectives, it reads, at times, like two rather different books stitched together: Maddy’s chapters put us squarely in her world—full of teenage angst, emotions not yet dulled by experience, and a focused drive for answers. In contrast, Eve’s chapters trace a more mature, grief-stricken journey. And as Eve seeks answers from Antonio (or perhaps she seeks a face that will mirror Maddy’s one last time), she may recklessly risk the life she has built with Robin.
An exquisite tracing of the tangled lines of mother-daughter love, loss, and grief.