cover image All That Shines

All That Shines

Ellen Hagan. Bloomsbury, $19.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5476-1021-1

When 17-year-old Chloe Brooks’s father is arrested on fraud charges, she and her mother move from their elegant Lexington, Ky., mansion to Limestone Apartments, owned by Chloe’s mother. Chloe has never seen the complex, and her mother hasn’t been back in a long time (“This place.../ has been abandoned./ Let go of./ Shutters loose on windows,/ the grass left unmowed,/ nothing blooming or/ growing”). Upon arrival, she meets cheerful Clint, a teenage resident who immediately offers to help the mother-daughter duo settle in. But Clint’s friends are wary (“they should know/ that we are not their staff/ or their servers”), and Chloe’s occasional missteps and classist behavior prompt feelings of shame within her and animosity among the other teens. When the group finds out that Chloe sings and writes music, however, they invite her to participate in their jam sessions, growing closer as a result. While characters often feel stereotypical and some poems are repetitive, Hagan (Don’t Call Me a Hurricane) utilizes sensate verse to summarily cover hefty topics including financial precarity and privilege, as well as adeptly cultivate a sense of place that proves lively and immersive. Protagonists read as white; supporting characters are intersectionally diverse. Ages 13–up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary. (Sept.)