cover image Invisible Son

Invisible Son

Kim Johnson. Random House, $18.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-593-48210-0

In February 2020, after spending two months in a juvenile correction facility for a crime he didn’t commit, 17-year-old Andre Jackson is finally on his way home. His probation officer insists that Dre has been given a new lease on life, but Dre is worried about what his grandparents will think of him upon his return to the family’s rapidly gentrifying corner of Portland, Ore. Still, Dre is determined to clean up his reputation, which involves confronting his best friend Eric Whitaker, who allowed Dre to take the fall for Eric’s crime. He quickly learns that Eric is missing, and Eric’s sister Sierra—Dre’s first love—doesn’t understand why no one, not even their white adoptive parents, is looking for him. As Dre embarks on his own investigation, societal conflicts—including Covid and protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd—and Sierra’s parents’ increasingly suspect behavior, complicate matters. Smooth pacing and anticipatory tension imbue this hard-hitting mystery with a chilling atmosphere. Via Dre’s contemplative voice and a timely setting, Johnson (This Is My America) balances intrigue with socially conscious ruminations on systemic and environmental racism, and the power in reclaiming one’s narrative. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer March Soloway, Andrea Brown Literary. (June)