cover image The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen

The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen

Katherine Howe. Putnam, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-399-16778-2

Nineteen-year-old aspiring documentarian Wes Auckerman is days away from showing his short film at an NYU summer workshop when a strange girl appears during a friend's film shoot. Meanwhile, almost two centuries earlier, beautiful, coy Annatje "Annie" Van Sinderen is attempting to uncover the truth behind her father's canal business dealings, specifically the reason why the Brotherhood of the Luddites would label her father a "slavemonger." Oscillating between Wes and Annie's viewpoints, Howe (Conversion) cleverly blends Annie's story and Wes's infatuation with another enigmatic young woman%E2%80%94freegan, anarchistic Maddie%E2%80%94who proves to be much more than she seems. As Annie runs out of time to unlock the connections between her family and the Brotherhood, and Wes prepares for his film reveal, both make choices that will alter their futures. With aplomb, Howe captures the tricky distinctions of adolescence, especially the challenges in trusting one's inner voice. Annie's movements from past to present are hauntingly etched, creating an eeriness that lingers after the novel's romantic ending. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, William Morris Endeavor. (Sept.)