cover image Old Wounds

Old Wounds

Logan-Ashley Kisner. Delacorte, $19.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-5938-1474-1

Transgender 18-year-old exes Erin and Max leave Columbus, Ohio, for Berkeley, Calif.; Max to flee his parents, whose emotional and physical abuse led to his suicide attempt, and Erin to escape haunting memories of her father’s abandonment and death. Following a series of mysterious car troubles, they find themselves trapped in rural Lebanon Junction, Ky. There, over the course of one long, terrifying night, they are pursued by a group of men who feed girls to the ominous Bullitt Beast, which they believe requires sacrifices to keep floods at bay. As Erin and Max contend with violent attacks, transphobic vitriol, and attempted sexual assault, they must also confront their own fraught relationship and decide how far they’re willing to go to save themselves—and each other. Via the teens’ alternating POVs, Kisner sculpts two complex, believably flawed protagonists without demonizing nor glossing over their mistakes as they navigate their trauma. While violent and spine-tinglingly creepy on the surface, Kisner’s debut is also a hopeful story of connection and community, and a fiery ode to the trans youth who must fight for survival in a society set against them. Major characters read as white. Ages 14–up. Agent: Chloe Seager, Madeleine Milburn Literary. (Sept.)