cover image We Are Inevitable

We Are Inevitable

Gayle Forman. Viking, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-425-29080-4

Embittered in the wake of his older brother’s overdose and death as well as his mother’s abandonment, 19-year-old Aaron Stein, who is white and Jewish, feels like one of the doomed dinosaurs he obsessively reads about. He’s been forced to run his family’s failing Bellingham, Wash., bookstore since his parents filed for bankruptcy and transferred ownership, a business that seems slated for extinction. Concerned about his dad’s intensifying mental confusion and agitation, and angry at his late brother for the financial fallout surrounding his drug reliance, Aaron makes a secret property deal. But the meddling of 21-year-old “Best-Life Bro” Chad Santos, a former classmate who uses a wheelchair, challenges Aaron’s pessimism. Forman (If I Stay) movingly communicates Aaron’s grief through his hostility and flawed understanding of addiction; his burgeoning relationship with brown-eyed, freckled musician Hannah, who’s newly sober, and his growing self-awareness bring nuance to this discussion and depiction of addiction. Both a moving story of growing through grief and an ode to the miracle of books and independent bookstores, Forman’s newest is a sincere and affecting volume. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (June) [/em]