cover image My Week with Him

My Week with Him

Joya Goffney. HarperTeen, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-325474-9

Black high school senior Shaniqua “Nikki” Lenae dreams of escaping her small Texas town and her emotionally volatile mother to become an R&B singer in this acute portrait of agency, hope, and intergenerational trauma by Goffney (Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl). Just before she’s supposed to road trip to Los Angeles and audition for a producer, everything falls apart: a betrayal by Nikki’s younger sister Vae results in her mother kicking Nikki out. Devastated, Nikki intends to leave for L.A. immediately, but once her best friend Mal learns of her plans, he persuades her to stay with him until it’s time to attend the audition. When Vae, feeling guilty about her role in the family fallout, disappears, Nikki and Mal must work with the girls’ mother to find her—and after serendipitous events lead to Nikki’s dream becoming fully realized, she must decide whether she’s willing to leave her family and the boy she’s always loved behind. Via artfully interspersed flashbacks and vignettes, Goffney depicts a tumultuous relationship with an absent parent buoyed by a sweetly developing love story that models healthy and gentle romance. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Brianne Johnson, HG Literary. (July) [/em]