After her uncle belatedly signs the guardianship papers, Grace, 17, moves into his home, the site of a brutal sexual assault she’s never disclosed.
Before her father’s fatal heart attack, Grace lived with him in Tampa, spending summers with her uncle, Rusty, in New Harbor. Her friend Janna still lives next door—and so does Janna’s brother, Owen. Two years ago, Grace was in love with Owen; they’d been kissing in Grace’s room when she blacked out, having taken a sleeping pill to get some rest after an exhausting illness. Hours later, she awoke to find she’d been raped. Her father’s death followed, and Grace entered foster care. She’s kept the assault—for which she blames Owen—secret and hasn’t seen or spoken to him or Janna since. Grace copes with the trauma by stealing wallets from men she’s caught leering at women (she keeps the wallets and their contents, donating the cash to charity). Unable to avoid Owen and his family, she confronts him over the assault. But was he really responsible? Other suspects abound—Rusty and a couple of dozen male friends were partying drunkenly in the house that night. Puzzlingly inconsistent characters, their motivations hard (or impossible) to fathom, burden an often far-fetched plot; threads abandoned middevelopment further erode credibility. The book follows a white default.
Intermittently engrossing but ultimately disappointing—a missed opportunity to explore a timely topic. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14-18)