In the depths of intense grief, a teen suspects her father’s fatal car accident was actually murder.
Sydney’s devastated by her father’s sudden death and can’t help thinking there was more to the story than a random accident—after all, as the town’s only therapist, he knew everyone’s secrets. She’s surprised to see her high school’s resident golden girl, June, at the funeral. While drowning in grief—depicted in a visceral, pitch-perfect first-person voice—Sydney links her father’s death to mysterious text messages she’s receiving that contain harassing, homophobic content. At the same time, she develops a friendship with June—who had been one of her father’s patients—that quickly turns into an infatuation and then obsession (made awkward when Sydney befriends June’s longtime boyfriend). The emotional character- and relationship-driven story arcs move slowly without sacrificing narrative tension. In the final act of the story, the mystery component—June’s secrets, the text messages, Sydney’s father’s death, and the identity of the true antagonist—tumble out in a fast (if somewhat predictable) whirlwind of pages. Tough and morbid topics are broached—death, abuse, homophobia—but not sensationalized. While the community—including Sydney—is mostly white, brown-skinned June is mixed race (ethnicities not specified), and there is some diversity of race and sexuality in secondary characters.
A captivatingly moody, introspective drama. (author interview, resources) (Fiction. 14-adult)