cover image Yonder


Ali Standish. HarperCollins, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-298568-2

Set in small-town Appalachia during WWII, Standish’s (The Mending Summer) uplifting mystery tackles big themes of abuse, bullying, heroism, mental health, and prejudice. Life has recently felt tumultuous for observant narrator Danny Timmons, 13, who delivers the local newspaper that his mother edits. Danny’s father is fighting in Europe, his mom is expecting a baby, and a longtime friendship has recently changed. And Foggy Gap, N.C., has also had its share of news lately—a Black family forced out of town, another ostracized for their son’s desertion. Danny sees good in courageous 15-year-old Jack, who protects him from the town’s bullies, once saved local twins from a flood, and tells Danny about a magical-sounding place called Yonder. When Jack suddenly goes missing, Danny is determined to find him, no matter the cost. Through an elegant voice and a series of flashbacks, the mystery of Jack’s disappearance unfolds alongside the story of Danny’s friendship with him, the increasing clarity with which Danny sees life as far from perfect, and the small but meaningful steps he takes to discover what bravery means. Most protagonists are white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Chelsea Eberly, Greenhouse Literary. (May)