When 17-year-old Micah’s family pulls him out of school to decamp for their small Minneapolis religious cult’s underground compound, he can’t do much but leave a note and hope his girlfriend, Sesame, finds him. And Sesame tries, but Micah’s cell phone has been taken, the police won’t listen, and she doesn’t want to rely on others—since her grandmother died, Sesame has kept to herself, following her grandmother’s guarded precepts to the extreme. As the search drags on, though, she has little choice but to ask for help. The high school juniors alternate as narrators, connected by their solitude and efforts to understand their families, including Micah’s thoughts about why his parents follow their leader, and Sesame’s gradual rethinking of her grandmother’s approach to life. McGhee (What I Leave Behind) is especially good at portraying Micah’s terror and determination, a success that renders Sesame’s well-depicted but quieter chapters less effective. She has so little to go on that finding Micah seems impossible, and though McGhee includes a wealth of details about her life, her sections lack the urgency of Micah’s life-and-death struggle. Still, watching two in difficult circumstances teens work through fear and toward bravery is gratifying. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (Sept.)■
Reviewed on : 07/30/2020 Release date: 09/01/2020 Genre: Children's
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