cover image You Don't Know About Me

You Don't Know About Me

Brian Meehl. Delacorte, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-385-73909-2

Meehl (Suck It Up) draws inspiration from an American classic in this thought-provoking, often philosophical coming-of-age tale. Almost 16, Billy has spent his entire life traveling with his mother and fighting the good fight as "ninja warriors for the Lord." While Billy is secure in his faith and a willing crusader, he's ready to give up homeschooling for high school and lead a normal, nonnomadic life. The arrival of a message from his (supposedly dead) father gives Billy the impetus to break free and go on a wild road trip. Led by clues hidden in a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he travels cross-country, finding an unlikely traveling companion in Ruah Branch, a closeted gay black, professional baseball player. Billy and Ruah's friendship is tested by religious and personal beliefs, forcing Billy to rethink everything he's ever known. Throw in a trip to Burning Man, a pair of con artists, and the legendary sequel to Huckleberry Finn, and you have a recipe for a story both strange and wonderful. Meehl doesn't pull any punches as his characters undergo their own journeys to freedom in this powerful, intelligent tale. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. (May)