cover image Phoebe’s Diary

Phoebe’s Diary

Phoebe Wahl. Little, Brown, $19.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-3163-6356-3

In her emotionally vulnerable YA debut, Wahl (Little Witch Hazel) revisits her high school diaries to deliver a fictional adaptation of her adolescence. In 2006 Bellingham, Wash., 15-year-old Wahl begins working on her new journal. While it’s not the first diary she’s started (and forgotten about), she’s determined to keep up with this one, “since it would be nice to follow through for once.” Each entry, marked with chapter headers signifying the date and time, is rendered in candid, first-person narration that feels immersive as its author delves into critical events in her life. Descriptions of her experiences performing in school plays, making new friends, and enduring awkward family vacations give way to complex musings about art, crushes, and her identity as a fat Jewish girl. Accompanying illustrations in fluid, inky line and grayscale tones highlight significant people, outfits, moments, and items for her teenage self. Pacing mimics the inconsistencies of young adulthood, varying with each entry based on the teen’s emotional investment in individual topics, skillfully presenting a raw, unfiltered story about growing up and taking risks that will surely resonate. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary. (Sept.)