cover image Emily the Strange: The Lost Days

Emily the Strange: The Lost Days

Jessica Gruner, Rob Reger, , illus. by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker. . HarperCollins, $16.99 (266pp) ISBN 978-0-06-145229-1

Merchandising icon Emily the Strange—no stranger to T-shirts, accessories and Hot Topic stores—becomes much more three-dimensional in this novel from creator Reger and coauthor Gruner (the pair has also written Emily comic books). Designed to look like Emily's ever-present notebook, the book opens as the 13-year-old finds herself in the very beige town of Blackrock, with no memories of who she is, how she got there or if she has any family (“Got myself so worked up into fake-missing people who might not even exist that I even cried a little fake tear”). She gleans clues to her identity (such as an affinity for fixing machines) and gets caught up in a power struggle over control of the town, before discovering her connection to Blackrock (with some missteps and memory-related restarts along the way). Emily's diary-style narrative includes plenty of lists and her verbal quirks (“Flathering bogyarks”) are amusing. But it's her sarcastic, nerdy individualism—with a hint of buried sweetness—that will make readers want to spend more time with her. Ages 12–up. (June)