cover image The Life of Glass

The Life of Glass

Jillian Cantor. HarperTeen, $16.99 (340pp) ISBN 978-0-06-168651-1

Cantor (The September Sisters ) introduces inquisitive 14-year-old Melissa and her somewhat shallow older sister, Ashley, who live in Arizona. A year and a half after their father dies of lung cancer, their mother starts dating again, and Melissa becomes desperate to preserve the memory of her father. She begins reading his journal, which contains family members’ love stories—notes for a book he was writing—and starts creating love stories for her relatives while investigating a woman from her father’s past. Melissa’s emotions are authentically chaotic as she fears losing her best friend, Ryan, to a charming yet insincere new student; feels abandoned by her mother and sister; and has to decipher her true feelings for Ryan when a popular stud takes an interest in her. Melissa’s first-person narrative and pithy remarks (“I always thought that there was one person you were supposed to love.... It had never occurred to me... that my mother was going to look for that love all over again”) are realistic and relatable as she comes to terms with the inevitability—and also the possibilities—of the future. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)