A teen struggles with loneliness during the summer after high school.
Sheridan “Eden” Paulsen is terrified of change. Her best friend, Lacey, deserts her for a new group of friends, she discovers her mother cheating on her father, and she has no one to talk to. But then she calls longtime unrequited love Will, who will be there “whenever [her] heart desires.” The catch? Will Mason died two weeks before graduation. Before his accidental death, Will signed up to be a Cognitive Donor with In Good Company, a phone service that allows people to talk to a Companion—a highly artificially intelligent facsimile of the deceased. Keeping her phone on as she moves through her summer, Eden takes Will with her everywhere she goes: to work, out with co-workers, and as she completes her summer to-do list, the pre-college list she and Lacey were supposed to tackle together. As summer wears on, Eden falls in love with Will despite knowing he’s not real. Narrator Eden’s position as the uncertain middle daughter in a family of achievers who know who they are and what they want will resonate with readers who are also unsure of their own paths. The speculative aspect of the Companion blends seamlessly with the realism. Eden and Will are black, Eden has a black co-worker, and everyone else is assumed white.
Readers developing a sense of self will be in good company here. (Fiction. 12-18)