The gentle sounds of a piano playing at the opening sets the tone for Rice’s YA novel about 16-year-old Maia’s struggle with depression. When her mother abandons her family to follow her dream of studying whales in Tadoussac Bay in Quebec and her father remarries, Maia descends into depression, attempts suicide, and is sent to a rehabilitation institution near her home in Connecticut. Returning to school is difficult for her, and she finds a welcome distraction in her budding romance with Billy, the son of a murderer who is living in a nearby group home. Maia becomes convinced that finding her mother will give her the peace she longs for, and soon she and Billy run headlong on a wild adventure to Canada. Narrator Clarke’s youthful and convincingly emotional voice conveys Maia’s tumultuous feelings about her parents’ divorce and her first love; Maia’s battle with depression looms even during the high points of her road trip. Clarke provides Billy with a husky bad boy’s voice, but the voices of Maia’s friends and family are not noticeably distinct. Rice chimes in at the end to read the author’s note detailing her own experience with depression and provides resources for young people experiencing this disease. The change of pace and reader helps convey the seriousness of the issues explored in this coming-of-age tale. Ages 12–up. A Scholastic hardcover. (June)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2017 Release date: 06/01/2017 Genre: Audio
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