cover image Last Chance Books

Last Chance Books

Kelsey Rodkey. HarperTeen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-299446-2

Principled, passionate, implied white Madeline Moore, 18, has grown up in her aunt Astrid’s Pennsylvania-based bookstore, Books & Moore, where Madeline works alongside her 16-year-old brown-skinned half brother, Benny. After college, Madeline plans to take over the store, one of the only constants in her life since their unreliable mother, Dahlia, left more than a decade ago. But when Astrid announces the store will close at summer’s end, Madeline refuses to give up, attempting to attract customers and boost sales by hosting a local chef and food truck owner, partnering with her blonde booktuber best friend, Zelda, and landing a big author for an appearance. Meanwhile, Madeline’s partaking in an ever-escalating prank war with Jasper Hamada—the “artfully put together,” infuriatingly “hot” Japanese American supervisor of Prologue, a larger competing bookstore that has recently opened across the street—and navigating her unwelcome mother’s return to her life. Rodkey offers realistically mutable characterization; though prickly Madeline sometimes fails to fully consider the consequences of her actions, her choices deepen the impact of her growth. The You’ve Got Mail–style romance is well executed in this debut, only improved by Rodkey’s cognizant depiction of the financial struggles of bricks-and-mortar bookstores. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Bridget Smith, JABberwocky Literary. (May) [/em]