Center’s quirky story (after Things You Save in a Fire) follows offbeat librarian Samantha Casey, who’s found the tight-knit family she’s always longed for and a place to call home in a small Texas beach town. The Kempner School, where she works, is a bright, cheery place, and principal Max Kempner sparks joy at every turn—until his sudden death from a pulmonary embolism. When Sam hears the news about Max’s replacement, Duncan Carpenter, she remembers Duncan as a former fellow teacher, crush, and all-around “human mood-enhancer.” Sam sings Duncan’s praises as an ideal replacement until Duncan swoops in and declares the school a security “nightmare” that he is determined to make a model of safety and security through a series of extreme measures. Soon, Sam schemes with the school’s cofounder Babette, Max’s widow, to stage a “Joy-bomb” intervention, forcing Duncan to eat a sundae each day and perform juggling in front of the students at lunchtime in exchange for the privilege of keeping his job, in hopes of unearthing the fun Duncan and saving the school. In the process, Sam’s old crush on Duncan reignites. The cast of eccentric supporting characters adds to a fast-paced tale steeped with whimsical, yet sometimes outlandish, plot points. This is one for the beach bag. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/06/2020 Release date: 07/14/2020 Genre: Fiction
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