Nothing is what it seems in Zappia’s debut novel. Diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic at age 14, Alexandra Ridgemont, a senior entering a new high school after an infamous graffiti episode, meets Miles, a boy she believes she conjured in childhood. Her uncertainty and the pressures of a new school create an unraveling of the barriers between imagination and reality. Told from Alex’s perspective, Zappia’s story submerges readers into a world where they, too, are left unsure of what to trust. As the stakes get higher for Alex—with obstacles that include a principal who fanatically worships a scoreboard, a fellow student buckling under family pressure, and her mother’s threats of hospitalizing her—the truth continues to blur. Despite support from Miles, who comes to her aid even as he struggles with an abusive father and alexithymia, Alex must push past increasingly frightening hallucinations to uncover a surprising secret. Though some of the novel’s big revelations are easily guessed and loose ends left dangling, Alex’s sardonic voice and the rapid, Heathers-like dialogue will hold readers’ interest. Ages 14–up. Agent: Louise Fury, Bent Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/30/2015 Release date: 05/01/2015 Genre: Children's
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