After opening the door to a locked room at a drunken party and seeing something not meant for her to see, events are set in motion that change Harley’s life—and those of her sister and boyfriend—forever.
The next morning, Audrey, Harley’s younger sister, is in a coma, fighting for her life. Harley’s boyfriend, Mike, is responsible for the drunken driving accident that put her there. Harley is consumed by both guilt and rage but also immersed in the tedium of hospital life, waiting for any signs of improvement. Over the years she’s witnessed Mike’s drinking become more and more reckless, culminating in the betrayal that prompted her to leave the party without her sister by her side. In chapters that alternate between the present and scenes from the past, Harley explores her relationships with Audrey, Mike, and Rafael, the childhood friend she reconnects with after the accident. They bond through late-night cigarette breaks, an affinity for comics, and a shared understanding of tragedy. Rafael, Latinx, has also faced substance abuse issues, and his growing self-awareness and commitment to sobriety stand out in stark contrast to Mike’s denial and insecurity. Driven by authentic and well-developed characters and relationships, this work presents a compelling exploration of responsibility and forgiveness. Harley and her family and boyfriend are assumed white.
A relevant and engaging coming-of-age novel that highlights the accountability that comes with adulthood. (author’s note/resources) (Fiction. 14-18)