A fiercely realized teen uses astrological skills to solve a heartbreaking mystery.
Joanne Crowe, an astrologer so accurate and empathetic that clients became obsessed with her, knew her days were numbered. She’d always insisted on the truth of her impending “eventuality” to her daughter, Avicenna, but when Joanne goes missing, it’s still a shock. As Avicenna embraces her own ability to read destinies in the stars and planets to unravel the mystery of her beloved mother’s disappearance, her skills introduce her to both unlikely allies and revolting, violent foes across Melbourne’s most luxurious and down-at-the-heels neighborhoods. Avicenna is a revelation: prickly and brilliant—she’s the first student in years to ace the entrance exam at a highly competitive magnet high school—she pursues the truth doggedly even as the likelihood of her mother’s death forces her to re-experience the physical and emotional trauma of the fire that took her father’s life 10 years prior. Lim throws class differences into high relief and highlights the casual, cruel racism multiracial people still face in modern Australia. Her taut, assured thriller weaves together astrology and mythology, poetry and poverty, and several generations of mothers whose love can’t protect their children from humanity’s ugliest tendencies.
Teen and adult readers who like their mysteries gritty and literary, with a touch of magic: seek this one out. (Mystery. 15 & up)