Part tautly paced mystery, part psychological study of suicide and its aftereffects.
When Cody’s best friend, Meg, kills herself by downing cleaning fluid in a motel room, she tidily leaves behind a tip for the maid and time-delayed emails for Cody, her parents and the police. Cody’s devastated: After all, she and Meg were inseparable since kindergarten. That is, they were close until talented Meg escaped their dead-end town to attend college on a fellowship while Cody stayed behind. But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up what’s left of Meg’s life, she’s startled by how much doesn’t make sense: Why would someone so full of promise and life choose death? How much did Meg’s housemates know about her fateful decision? And why does Meg have an encrypted file on her computer? Seeking to justify the picture of the friend she thought she knew with the one she’s piecing together, Cody faces questions about their friendship, along with a growing attraction for Ben, the boy she believes broke Meg’s heart. Forman’s characters are all too human: Cody’s willingness to ignore what doesn’t fit her picture of Meg as she struggles to come to terms with her sadness and guilt rings true of those left behind to face the tragedy of suicide.
An engrossing and provocative look at the devastating finality of suicide, survivor’s guilt, the complicated nature of responsibility and even the role of the Internet in life-and-death decisions. (Fiction. 14 & up)