cover image Unclaimed Baggage

Unclaimed Baggage

Jen Doll. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-374-30606-9

What happens to the suitcases left unclaimed at airports? They go to stores that sort through, and sell, their contents. Sixteen-year-old Doris works at just such a store in a small Alabama town, as do Nell and fellow high schooler Grant, and the three teens become unlikely friends. Doris is an anomaly in their conservative town because she doesn’t believe in God—and doesn’t mind saying so; Nell’s family has just moved from Chicago; and Grant was a local football hero, until his drinking cost him his position on the team, his girlfriend, and his self-respect. In her YA debut, Doll skillfully integrates three alternating voices—especially Doris, with her gift for finding things—in a story threaded through with relationships and identities lost and found. Over the course of the summer, junk and treasures, both sentimental and real, pass through the shop; family history is reclaimed; and things, stories, and people find new places to belong. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ryan Harbage, Fischer-Harbage Agency. (Sept.)