cover image Out of Reach

Out of Reach

Carrie Arcos. Simon Pulse, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4424-4053-1

Arcos's debut novel unfolds over the span of a single day, as 16-year-old Rachel searches for her meth-addicted older brother, Micah, who has gone missing. Out of the blue, Rachel receives a vague, anonymous email telling her that Micah is in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego and "not doing so good." Rather than, say, reply to the email to ask for more information, Rachel calls Micah's friend and bandmate Tyler, and the two drive down to try to find him. Several hours, one stolen car, and many conversations later, they're not having much luck. Rachel is a believable, if not especially appealing, combination of na%C3%AFve and judgmental, qualities that soften only slightly as the book progresses. Arcos works in information about crystal meth (including its history and effects), genetic predisposition to addiction, and other topics, but the brunt of the narrative consists of Rachel's flashbacks and memories. This both aids character development and makes sense, as Rachel can't let go of the brother she knew, but it also greatly hampers the story's momentum. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Oct.)