cover image The Great Big One

The Great Big One

J.C. Geiger. Little, Brown, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7595-5539-6

With an ambitious plotline and nuanced characters, Geiger’s (Wildman) novel begins as a tense love triangle before veering into a grief-tinged mystery. Like many of the men in coastal Oregon’s Clade City, the site of a devastating 1964 tsunami, white 17-year-old twins Griff and Leo Tripp are preppers, spending their free time preparing for a tsunami, nuclear attack, or whatever potential disaster awaits. Normally close, the Tripp siblings’ relationship begins to fray as Griff develops feelings for new classmate Charity, a talented singer who is Black and Dominican. Having formed a band with Charity, the twins and fellow prepper Thomas hear an exhilarating musical broadcast picked up on a stray radio frequency. As Leo and Charity begin to investigate the musical puzzle, Griff interprets his ominous feeling of doom as certainty that his charismatic brother will steal Charity’s heart, as occurred with a previous crush. Though the writing’s intentionally fractured style threatens to scramble the story’s momentum, patience pays off in this richly detailed mystery about the terrible catastrophes that even the most ardent prepper cannot anticipate. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (July)