Washington, D.C., eighth-graders Claudia Coleman and her best (and only) friend, Monday Charles, were inseparable, often mistaken for twins—until the day Monday disappeared.
Brown-skinned with kinky hair, the girls had each other’s backs, and Claudia relied on Monday in ways no one else knew. But when Monday doesn’t show up for the first day of school with no warning or explanation, Claudia becomes worried. After a week goes by, Claudia begins a search for her Monday without much help from the adults around her. Claudia refuses to give up on Monday like she thinks everyone else has: How can a young girl just disappear and have no one look for her? The plot unfolds in nonchronological order, a technique that risks having the story feel clumsy at times. Despite a resolution that reads as somewhat anticlimactic and a narrator who is sometimes as naïve as she is skeptical, the draw of this novel, which was inspired by actual events, lies in its interwoven themes of the effects of gentrification, especially on black residents whose connections, culture, and community become afterthoughts in the face of capitalism; mental illness in the black community; and biases around the value of missing children, black girls in particular. Secrets and how silence often causes more harm than we can imagine are also addressed.
A tragic and heartbreaking tale of love, loss, grief, growth, and perseverance. (Fiction. 13-adult)