cover image Holding On to Zoe

Holding On to Zoe

George Ella Lyon. FSG/Ferguson, $16.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-374-33264-8

This spare, tense novel explores the aftermath of the ectopic pregnancy of 16-year-old narrator Jules. Lyon (Sonny’s House of Spies) weaves skepticism and mystery around the baby, which Jules names Zoe, while conjuring sympathy for Jules and her desire to care for her child. Jules copes with abandonment by Damon (the classmate who got her pregnant) and the harsh reactions of her cold, overworked mother—who initially refuses to believe Jules is pregnant—and her supportive, if brutally honest best friend, Reba, who bursts into tears nearly every time Jules mentions Zoe. Readers will get the sense very early on that all is not what it seems in Jules’s world, or her mind, and an exceptionally kind and skilled psychologist helps Jules face reality and explore her pain. While a surprising, late-breaking revelation is not entirely earned in the narrative, Lyon offers a haunting portrayal of a girl’s psychological trauma and the defenses she builds in order to feel less alone in the world. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (July)