Intrigue, romance, and girl power: Hoover’s debut novel delivers that and more with small-town Texas charm.
In this story set during the 1970s in Dumas, Texas, readers meet Cal on the day she learns to her great distress that her parents are getting separated. But distraction arrives in the form of the new girl, Jane, who recently relocated to the area with her wealthy family after living in big cities. When 15-year-old Cal and her best friend, freckle-faced Rachel, get to know Jane at church camp, Cal develops feelings for Jane, and they soon pursue a romantic relationship. However, Cal is worried about her mother’s relationship with a strange man. When her mom goes missing, the trio’s amateur sleuthing leads them into trouble. Worried that her mom’s involvement with an organized crime leader may have led to her being kidnapped, the girls continue to snoop until they are caught in the center of the action. The drama unfolds at an even pace between the new couple struggling to come to terms with their feelings and social expectations while solving the mysterious affair between Cal’s mom and the criminal mastermind. Ultimately Cal comes to understand the complexities both of her mother’s situation and her own identity. Major characters are assumed white; Native American characters are referred to generically without recognition of their nations.
A mystery/thriller wrapped in a hopeful coming-of-age and coming-out tale. (Mystery. 14-18)