cover image A Year to the Day

A Year to the Day

Robin Benway. HarperTeen, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-285443-8

Told in reverse chronology, Benway’s moving story of grief begins exactly one year after a family’s tragic loss. Fifteen-year-old Leo’s older sister Nina, 17, was killed in a car accident while driving home from a party 365 days ago; an accident that Leo, despite living it, doesn’t remember. Now 16, all Leo can recall is leaving the party and seeing the police car’s lights after a drunk driver plowed into the siblings’ vehicle. In the days since the accident, Leo’s family has struggled to navigate their heartbreak (“Grief still comes in waves, pulling the memory of Nina closer and then further away”). Leo’s closest confidant is Nina’s former boyfriend, East, who knows the truth of what happened that devastating night—but he won’t tell Leo. As the clock winds back and details slowly emerge, Benway (Far from the Tree) highlights pivotal days throughout the year, rendering a persuasive portrait of heartache and loss. While the conclusion lacks the narrative’s emotional intensity, suspense, unanswered questions, and raw emotion blend together in an honest examination of one family’s varying symptoms and stages of grief. Most characters cue as white. Ages 13–up. Agent: Lisa Grubka, Fletcher & Co. (June)