cover image The Only Girl in Town

The Only Girl in Town

Ally Condie. Dutton, $19.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-32717-3

One summer day, rising high school senior July Fielding is walking back to her car from an afternoon at Fall Creek when she has the sudden realization that she’s all alone—not just in the woods, but in her town as well. Her family isn’t at home, no one is answering her texts, and when she tries to leave town, an invisible barrier prevents her from crossing city limits. As July frantically tries to uncover who or what is leaving her mysterious “GET THEM BACK” messages and determine where everyone went, alternating sections titled “Once” and “Now” chart her life before and after her loved ones’ disappearances. But as July delves deeper into the current mystery, memories of previous drama begin to unfurl, blurring the line between past and present. Liminal-feeling therapy session interstitials provide glimpses into July’s struggles with her mental health. July’s raw and sometimes unreliable narration amps up the suspense in this cleverly rendered speculative read by Condie (The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe), who ruminates on issues of anxiety and depression in a way that feels at once fresh and grounded. Characters read as white. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Sept.)