cover image The Worst Perfect Moment

The Worst Perfect Moment

Shivaun Plozza. Holiday House, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-823-45634-5

Sixteen-year-old Tegan Masters believes that a critical mistake has been made: she’s dead and, instead of going to heaven, she arrives at the Marybelle Motor Lodge in Wildwood, N.J., the location of her worst memory. According to Zelda—the cute but snarky angel who has reengineered the lodge down to the last detail, including the slimy mushrooms and the hidden foosballs—this is the place of Tegan’s happiest memory and where she will spend the rest of eternity. After Tegan files a complaint, the bureaucratic powers-that-be decree that Tegan and Zelda have one month to build their cases. Either Zelda must prove that her calculations were correct and Tegan is, in fact, where she belongs, or Tegan must persuade the powers that she’s not in heaven, but hell. As the duo traverse Tegan’s memories—depicted in third- person POV chapters—she confronts sweet and bitter recollections. Via Tegan’s prickly yet endearing first-person narration, Plozza (Meet Me at the Moon Tree) strikes an expert balance between poignancy and irreverence, tackling topics such as death, parental abandonment, and self-worth in this queer romantic comedy that’s as tender as a bruise. Tegan and Zelda cue as white. Ages 14–up. Agent: Katelyn Detweiler, Jill Grinberg Literary. (May)