One girl, two lives: Debut novelist McStay explores the impact of a childhood accident.
When Fiona was 5, an accident burned her face and left her scarred. Always self-conscious about her scars, Fiona won't perform the songs she writes or tell crush Trent how she feels. At least she has her brother, Ryan, and best friend, Lucy. She undergoes an operation that heals her scars—but Fiona's insecurities remain even after starting college and falling for handsome Jackson. In a parallel storyline that alternates with Fiona’s chapter by chapter and month by month, Fi is physically unflawed, but there are cracks under the surface. She's a fierce lacrosse player, living for the dream of playing in college, even if it means barely having a relationship with her brother, Ryan, and pushing away Trent, her best friend, who wants to be more. But a horrible ankle injury takes away lacrosse, leaving Fi adrift until she falls in love with the sickly, optimistic Marcus. Readers accustomed to time-slip and parallel-universe fiction should control their expectations, as intersections between the storylines are fairly subtle. McStay plays out her “what if” scenario in two separate plots; as separate reads, Fiona's story is straightforward, while Fi's is more interesting yet less successfully executed.
As an experiment, the premise may intrigue more than the product, but readers who enter it on its own terms should find it satisfying. (Fiction. 14-18)