cover image The Shark Curtain

The Shark Curtain

Chris Scofield. Akashic/Black Sheep, $13.95 trade paper (356p) ISBN 978-1-61775-313-8

Strange, artistic Lily Asher has frank conversations with Jesus, and after her beloved dog dies saving her life, she worries that she is growing a tail and sometimes barks and howls. Though it’s not always clear what is happening in a scene, given Lily’s unusual way of seeing the world, it’s easy to empathize with this unreliable narrator growing up in Portland, Ore., in the 1960s, where she experiences very real traumas, including her aunt’s accidental death, a peeping neighbor boy, and angry fights between her parents. This is a dense book and something of a time capsule, presenting a suburban America where Lily’s mother is prescribed a “happy pill” and no one talks about the girl being sexually abused next door. Throughout, first-time author Scofield creates striking images that will stay with readers, such as when Lily meets a blind girl riding a white horse at night, or when she tries to get Jesus to stop visiting her by writing “I’M NOT HERE” in masking tape on her bedroom window. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Carrie Howland, Donadio & Olson. (Apr.) [/em]