cover image This One’s for You

This One’s for You

Kate Sweeney. Viking, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-5933-5027-0

Amplifying raw emotion through imagery-rich prose, Sweeney (Catch the Light) explores mental health and the transition to adulthood against a contemporary music industry backdrop. Former best friends Sydney Greenfield and Caspian Forrester originally bonded over music, a passion hidden from both Syd’s pragmatic mother, who insists she pursue a “steady job,” and Cass’s father, who’s still grieving the death of Cass’s musician mother, who died in an accident while driving home drunk after a gig. Grappling with parental pressure, post-graduation ambitions, and emotional overwhelm, the estranged friends serendipitously meet up after graduation and impulsively travel to see Cass’s mom’s bandmates, the Darlas, on tour. A single show turns into a cross-country journey during which the Darlas help the teens live out their musical dreams, but boundaries are tested as Syd and Cass dredge up their past hurts, and the duo must both reckon with their falling-out and decide whether they fit into each other’s futures. Candid internal arcs and discussions of mental health elucidate therapy-positive messaging. By rooting the characters’ internal development in their connection to art, Sweeney captures the sensory immersion of musical performance and elevates the novel’s introspective plot via lyrical alternating perspectives. Characters cue as white. Ages 12–up. Agent: Melanie Figueroa, Root Literary. (Feb.)