cover image In the Orbit of You

In the Orbit of You

Ashley Schumacher. Wednesday, $20 (320p) ISBN 978-1-2508-8604-0

As children, neighbors Sam and Nova were best friends who engaged in imaginative play between their houses and kissed each other’s physical hurts, of which Sam had many due to his abusive household. But Sam and Nova are abruptly separated when Sam’s abuse is discovered by his aunt and uncle; the kids “promise, promise” to find each other again when they’re older. Now 17, new student Nova and popular Sam attend the same Texas high school, where Sam has become an accomplished, if secretly reluctant, football star with a cheerleader girlfriend. After years of moving around with her nomadic mother, Nova is desperately trying to figure herself out. Sam and Nova’s emotional chance reunion is further complicated by them scoring a 99% on a schoolwide personality matching test, calling into question all of their individual carefully laid plans for the future, and the promises they made as children. Nova and Sam’s achingly earnest love story is depicted in alternating POVs that simmer with searing characterization and a sense of kismet. Schumacher (The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway) expertly captures the acute experiences of childhood nostalgia, deep romantic longing, and the stressors of teetering on the precipice of adulthood. Sam and Nova read as white. Ages 13–up. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Mar.)