Even paradise has its secrets.
Trains bring desperate newcomers who’ve heard the tales of wonder. Gardnerville has no disease, and its inhabitants live well beyond 100, looking youthful all the while. But those, like Skylar, who were born and raised in the seemingly blissful town know its dark side. The land gives many gifts, like Skylar’s ability to read minds, but it takes even more. Adolescence is hard in Gardnerville, turning teens mad and even into killers. With some pharmaceutical help, Skylar has tried to forget her painful past, including her older sister Piper’s strange disappearance four years ago, but now it’s time to remember. In this distinctive, supernatural read, Skylar’s first-person narration alternates between episodic remembrances of time spent with Piper (highlighted by ’80s song titles from their mother’s old mix tapes) and her current struggle to find Piper and understand the mysteries of Gardnerville. Skylar’s storytelling style can be slow and complex, leaving characters and romance flat. Readers with patience and curiosity about Piper’s whereabouts, possible role in an uprising and folkloric connections, however, will add up the clues that lead to a startling ending.
A divisive novel that will leave readers wondering “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” (Fantasy. 14-18)