Kirkus Reviews QR Code
RIGHT ON CUE by Sabine Bradley


by Sabine Bradley

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-9785-9617-7
Publisher: West 44 Books

A high school senior dreaming of a filmmaking career gets sidetracked when her newly sober mother reenters her life.

Five years with stable, loving foster parents have enabled Alex to leave her chaotic childhood behind and envision a future studying film at a New York college to which her art teacher, a former foster kid herself, encourages her to apply. Each applicant must submit a short documentary. Alex has procrastinated and further loses focus when she learns that her birth mom, Marie, now sober but gravely ill, wants to see her. Fearing a reprise of Marie’s humiliating drunken behavior in public two years earlier, Alex visits reluctantly. Aware that frail Marie is eager for her companionship and love, Alex holds back, unwilling to trust her continued sobriety—they’ve been here before. But witnessing Marie’s illness firsthand dissolves Alex’s resistance; she begins to let go of past pain and, with awakening compassion, to forgive. Ignoring college application deadlines, Alex embraces this all-consuming reconnection. Then Marie starts pulling away and suddenly disappears. The short, evocative poems bring Alex to passionate life, sustaining readers’ interest. Selectively omitting granular details, Bradley keeps readers’ attention on the universalities of Alex’s journey to acknowledge and heal the emotional scars she bears, accept the support she needs, and, despite everything, find a place for Marie in her heart. Characters are racially ambiguous.

A compact, emotionally resonant tale ideal for reluctant readers.

(Verse novel. 12-18)