Good girl and bad boy go on the run, with bittersweet consequences.
Earnest and disciplined June can’t wait for college with her BFF, Bethany. Nick, youngest of a dysfunctional family, barely attends school and bounces in and out of juvie. Nick and June are 17 and in love, and her generous heart and his artistic soul have them dreaming of a future together. But lately June’s been hearing voices—and a psychotic break lands her in the hospital. Meantime Nick’s stolen one car too many and faces serious prison time. Both know that running away is a horrible idea, but they’re going to try anyhow. Anyone dreading a teenage Bonnie and Clyde or a melodramatic YA “problem novel” will be pleasantly surprised: They both make many bad choices, but, even burdened with mental illness and poverty, they also make choices that are good and wise and true. Spare, evocative prose captures the intimate details of life in a small Arkansas town with cleareyed affection, endearing vulnerability, and terrifying honesty; even the most minor characters are seen with sympathy and nuance. Stanley (Drowning Is Inevitable, 2015) doesn’t cheat with a fairy-tale happy ending but hints at something maybe more precious: a hope-filled enduring. The book follows a white default.
Not so much a “love story” as a story about love: romantic love but also love for friends, family, a place, and a dream. (Fiction. 12-18)