cover image The Ruinous Sweep

The Ruinous Sweep

Tim Wynne-Jones. Candlewick Press, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9745-7

In Wynne-Jones’s tense, eerie thriller that lightly draws from Dante’s Inferno, 17-year-old Donovan Turner lies unconscious in a hospital after a hit-and-run left him gravely injured. His girlfriend, Beatrice “Bee” Northway, is at his side. While Donovan relives the events leading up to the accident in his mind (or, possibly, an otherworldly in-between place), Bee makes careful notes in her journal describing each sound that Donovan utters, hoping to piece together what may have happened. Then Donovan’s father is found beaten to death with Donovan’s baseball bat. After Bee’s boyfriend becomes a suspect in the murder, she puts herself in considerable danger to prove to the police that he’s innocent. Wynne-Jones cleverly employs elements of his trademark magical realism, and readers will enjoy making the connections between Bee’s discoveries and Donovan’s subconscious version of events; both versions are chilling. The courageous, clever Bee is a revelation, and her clear-eyed approach to finding the truth and her enduring love for Donovan, along with believably quirky characters and genuinely terrifying moments, will keep readers enthralled until the bittersweet finale. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (June) [/em]