Tally, the scientist daughter of now-vanished Aurora from All Our Pretty Songs (2013), leaves her cozy New York home in search of blood family.
Just before her 18th birthday, Tally's best friend, Shane, delights and then devastates her by sleeping with her, then seeming to ignore her. A rationalist—unlike the sage-smudging, herb-sprinkling family who raised her—Tally is disgusted by her feelings. Visiting her neighbor Mr. M., she sees her mother's face in an old picture of musician Jack Blake and begins to wonder if Jack is her father. Tally's decision to travel to Jack's remote Pacific Northwest town without making advance plans or warning anyone that she is leaving is almost joltingly sudden. Her arrival, however, plunges readers into a lush and sometimes-spooky small-town setting, a place haunted by the bloodiest figures of Greek mythology, where the present is supernaturally easy to forget. Although Tally means to get answers, she is quickly drawn into an all-consuming affair with Maddy, a larger-than-life woman she meets at the town's only bar. Some plot elements, like Mr. M.'s almost-literal deus ex machina and the smooth resolution with Shane, feel hasty, but Tally's growth throughout is palpable, and the language—whether describing sex or music or nightmares—is breathtaking.
Fluid and aching, with a diverse cast and rich worldbuilding. (Urban fantasy. 14-18)