Vivian, 15, who struggles with anxiety, feels her older sister, Audra, 17, a strong-willed free spirit, pulling away from her; before Audra vanishes, she promises Vivian she’ll come back for her.
With her parents preoccupied with work and worries about Audra, Vivian discovers strange messages appearing in her old yellow notebook. She’d like to show them to Audra, now absent, but in her room, Vivian discovers new books in her bookcase, including detailed guides on how to survive in the wilderness. Audra keeps her promise, and Henry, the boy who’s become her partner in escaping the urban world and its social connections, brings Vivian to join them in their hiding place. While Audra and Henry work days, Vivian waits, hidden under a house in the city, until night falls and the three steal away to the park to practice survival skills. Audra is inspired by Caroline from Rock’s Alex Award winner, My Abandonment (2009); Taffy also turns up. But while revisiting thematic territory, this journey is more pared down yet longer and darker. Characters recede from one another like stars in an expanding universe, empty space growing vast between them. The Klickitat are a Yakama Nation tribe, and Ramona Quimby famously lives on Klickitat Street, but here the word is a signal between the sisters, symbol of their fragile connection.
Brooding, evocative, mysterious; a tale for mature readers to dig into—and then discuss. (Fiction. 14-18)