cover image Jersey Angel

Jersey Angel

Beth Ann Bauman. Random/Lamb, $15.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-74020-3

Bauman (Rosie and Skate) returns to the Jersey shore for her second YA novel, an acutely intimate portrait of a girl’s efforts to better understand herself and her relationships. The summer before her senior year, Angel Cassonetti is enjoying her freedom. Her family owns three houses on the shore, two of which they rent out to the tourist “bennies” who swarm the area every summer. Angel spends her days hanging out with friends and her half-siblings and working at her father’s marina gas station. Nights, she bikes over to her ex Joey’s window, trying to get back with him after she’s rebuffed him one too many times. While her best friend Inggy goes on college tours, Angel, whose sexual self-confidence contrasts with her insecurity about her future, has a steamy fling with Inggy’s boyfriend, Cork. “It won’t count,” she tells him after they have sex for the first time, during a boating trip. “I want it to count,” he replies. One can almost smell salt and sunscreen in the air in this soulful and insightful coming-of-age story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbit. (May)