cover image I Loved You in Another Life

I Loved You in Another Life

David Arnold. Viking, $19.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-52478-7

In this powerfully heartbreaking speculative love story by Arnold (The Electric Kingdom), two teens are inexplicably drawn to each other across all their previous lives. Following his father’s abandonment and his mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, high school senior Evan Taft is reluctant to apply for his dream gap-year experience in Alaska. Meanwhile, recent high school graduate Shosh Bell drinks to cope with her older sister Stevie’s death; the loss makes her desire to pursue acting at USC feel insignificant. Evan and Shosh are strangers living in the town of Iverton, Ill., when, one day, they both begin hearing a mysterious voice singing haunting lyrics that provide directions to an unknown event. Interstitial chapters depict the two teens as they are pulled together across historical eras and continents throughout their past lives; the songs only they can hear act as a consistent grounding thread. Arnold’s prose is both lyrical and devastating (“Love had run through this house like blood through a vein”), and the narrative’s focus on love and its apparent inevitability helps to lighten the intense tragedies the characters face. Shosh and Evan read as white. Ages 14–up. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Oct.)