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Patrick Ness. HarperTeen, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-240319-3

A heartbreaking dual narrative follows Adam, a gay teenager with homophobic parents, and the ghost of a classmate murdered by her meth-addicted boyfriend, over the course of one, defining day. In the hours before a going-away party for his first love, Adam Thorn has fateful confrontations with his evangelical pastor father and with the creepy boss who has been sexually harassing him. But the real bombshell is dropped when Angela, a friend Adam relies on, announces that she’s moving from Washington State to the Netherlands for senior year. Ness (The Rest of Us Just Live Here) interleaves Adam’s multipronged crisis with a strand tracking the murdered girl’s spirit as it seeks revenge (in the company of a seven-foot-tall faun) against her killer. Adam’s story dominates the narrative and provides a frank, riveting portrayal of a gay teenager’s sexual awakening (an endnote acknowledges the influence of both Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Blume’s Forever). The paranormal storyline isn’t quite as affecting as the plotline that follows Adam, but it conveys a sense of the mystery that can infuse ordinary lives. Ages 14–up. Agent: Michelle Kass, Michelle Kass Associates. (Sept.)