Even If We Break

Marieke Nijkamp. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4926-3611-3
Nijkamp’s (This Is Where It Ends) psychological thriller again showcases the author’s talent in drawing readers into characters’ internal struggles. Originally brought together by a murder mystery RPG, five seemingly white teens across Stardust High’s cliques are now being pulled apart. Autistic Maddy’s car accident ended her lacrosse career; trans boy Finn, who uses crutches due to arthritis, dislikes asking for help; nonbinary and trans teen Ever experiences increasing responsibilities to their family; Carter’s family pressures him to be “more”; and Liva seeks to live up to her wealthy family’s expectations. Drawn together for one last game, the splintered group arrives at Liva’s family cabin in the Arizona mountains. What starts off as a bittersweet last hurrah in their beloved shared world quickly turns into a nightmare haunted by the mountain’s legendary ghosts and the group’s inner demons. Though the conceit is well trod and characters’ alternating voices can feel indistinct, the darkly twisted ode to self-discovery briskly whisks an intersectionally inclusive group through a reasonably stormy, emotionally charged scenario that considers the sometimes-steep price of growing up and growing apart. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Udden, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/30/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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