When Autumn Casterly disappears, only her younger sister, Ivy, believes something is wrong.
Everybody knows Autumn is a bad girl, a drug dealer who often spends the night away. So when Autumn doesn’t come home one day after a drug deal gone wrong, no one bats an eye apart from Ivy. With the help of her close-knit group of friends, the Nerd Herd Club, Ivy starts to search—eventually unveiling the truth behind her sister’s deceptively strong facade. What Ivy doesn’t know is that the clock is ticking, and while Autumn’s body lies broken and hostage, her spirit has been trying to communicate with Ivy. The narrative alternates between Autumn’s violent story and Ivy’s determined search in a story about two sisters that blends the mundane with the supernatural. The ill effects of rape culture and the systemic lack of support for survivors are deftly explored, but the novel’s impact is ultimately marred by a contrived resolution. The fractured tonal shift between Autumn’s and Ivy’s narratives is an interesting, if jarring, choice (it’s hard to care about Ivy’s sweet but silly love triangle when readers know Autumn could soon be dead). The two main characters are white, and the novel has well-developed nonwhite and LGBTQIA characters. Ivy is fat and confident in her size; the fat-shaming she faces at school is addressed head-on.
A thoughtful if flawed thriller. (Thriller. 14-18)