cover image Dead Girls Don’t Say Sorry

Dead Girls Don’t Say Sorry

Alex Ritany. Knopf, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-5935-6926-9

Debut author Ritany addresses themes of grief, guilt, and toxic relationships via alternating chapters that chronicle the year before and after high school senior Nora Radford loses her best friend Julia Hoskins in a horrible accident. Though Nora is self-admittedly less popular than outgoing soccer captain Julia, the two have been inseparable since fifth grade and plan to attend the same Canadian college. But when Nora’s childhood friend, Dillan Fletcher, moves back to town and Nora receives an opportunity to attend a prestigious journalism program at another school, Julia’s friendly and caring demeanor turns controlling: “Just remember, I was there when no one else was.” In the events leading to the accident and the months of stagnation that Nora experiences after, Nora reconciles with her guilt and confronts the possibility that her relationship with Julia wasn’t what it seemed. Through attentive pacing, riveting dialogue, and emotionally well-rounded characters, Ritany highlights the difficulty Nora experiences in accepting her complicated feelings surrounding her relationship with Julia and Julia’s death and in learning how to move on, all of which culminate in a satisfying, somewhat saccharine resolution. Main characters read as white. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ali Herring, Spencerhill Assoc. (Feb.)