Mary Cecilia Jackson. Tor Teen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9885-7
If not for its foreboding opening—a Shakespearean quotation, “What’s past is prologue,” followed by the narrator’s declaration that “I am still prey”—Jackson’s debut would initially seem to be the simple story of 17-year-old ballerina Sparrow. She’s passionate about dance and her new handsome, if possessive, boyfriend, and devoted to her coterie of artsy friends, especially longtime dance partner Lucas. The novel soon escalates, however, into a threatening tale of abuse. Since the death of her mentally ill mother when Sparrow was five, she has buried the psychological damage caused by her mother’s physical cruelty; her relationship with Tristan awakens the familiar wounds. Jackson gives Lucas a voice in shorter sections that first add perspective to Sparrow’s experience but eventually trace his descent into—and return from—destructive behavior following his father’s unexpected illness and death, and his guilt at failing to protect Sparrow from the brutal assault by Tristan that the narrative steadily builds toward. Sparrow’s slow and stumbling physical and psychological recovery following her hospitalization and coma is depicted credibly, though the explanation of the roots of her damage by a therapist feels facile. Jackson skillfully balances authentic teenage dialogue in the form of conversations and text messages with evocative lyrical descriptions en route to an uplifting conclusion. Ages 13–17. Agent: Lindsay Mealing and Mandy Hubbard, Emerald City Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/30/2020
Release date: 03/17/2020
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-26350-6
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-7653-9886-4
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