Something bad happened to 16-year-old Sadie Black.
Waking up in the hospital, she learns that she was calling out for George, her best friend and occasional Prince Charming. Her other best friend is Lucie Washington, a black girl from her cross-country team. Sadie’s friendship circle is small, and there is something special about her relationship with George, something she fears others won’t understand. Sadie, a white girl who has been running away from her problems, now finds herself dealing with the fallout from another incident five years ago. Readers enter the mind of a teenage girl who has mastered the art of keeping secrets and exploring imaginary worlds and stories, save for moments when it gets out of her control and she must fight to rein herself back in. With prose that pulls you into the story, debut novelist Redd leads readers through the worlds conjured by Sadie. The complicated but loving relationships between Sadie and those who orbit her world are shown in empathetic ways. The angst and anguish of Sadie’s loss, grief, and confusion are evident. Still, the handling of the mental health themes leaves much to be desired: Some of Sadie’s problematic views are not fully resolved or explained, and the therapist reads like a prop who does little to help her heal.
A novel that will prompt readers to contemplate their own methods of escapism. (Fiction. 16-adult)