Reviews and summaries from Publisher's Weekly Magazine
by Sarah Dessen
Sydney Stanford and her family are devastated when her older brother, Peyton, paralyzes a local boy while driving drunk and is sent to jail. Sydney’s mother throws herself into supporting Peyton (while seeming to scarcely acknowledge his guilt), and Sydney switches schools, carrying heavy guilt on behalf of the injured boy, David, and trying to escape the damage Peyton has left in his wake. Sydney’s parents virtually ignore her as they navigate the complicated prison system on Peyton’s behalf, even inviting his older friend Ames into their home, his leering presence making Sydney uneasy. Sydney finds relief with her new friend Layla, Layla’s family and friends, and especially her handsome brother, Mac. Dessen (The Moon and More) delves deeper than ever into the complex dynamics of families suffering loss and confronting changes that upend everything. Once again, Dessen demonstrates her tremendous skill in evoking powerful emotions through careful, quiet prose, while delivering a satisfying romance. The author’s many devotees are sure to enjoy this weighty addition to her canon. Ages 12–up.
by JiHyeon Lee
In this wordless debut, Korean artist Lee combines imaginative power and emotional restraint. With a murmur of shaded pencil, she draws a boy in a bathing cap and goggles standing alone beside a public pool. Swimmers arrive suddenly and crowd the water—some are all but indistinguishable from the blubbery inflatable toys they carry—taking up every available bit of space. Diving beneath them, the boy heads straight down. Now, Lee draws the boy and the world he discovers in full color. A girl his age swims toward him, and together they play and explore, swimming among schools of wildly improbable fish of scarlet and blue, fish with snouts like snorkels and fins like ferns. They play hide-and-seek among the sea vents, encounter more threatening fish, and then, deeper still, find themselves eye-to-enormous-eye with a placid, whalelike behemoth. When the two surface and exit the pool, they exchange a shy, intimate glance, silent testimony to all they’ve shared. It’s perhaps the quietest, least remarkable-seeming people, Lee suggests, who see what’s below the surface of the ordinary world. An auspicious and memorable debut. Ages 3–5.