cover image Mysterious Ways

Mysterious Ways

Wendy Wunder. Wednesday, $20 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-77020-2

Of the three career options that 17-year-old Maya comes up with during her “Grippy Sock Vacation” at Whispering Pines Psychiatric Hospital, the one that stands out is “God (?).” What explanation is there for the fact that Maya can read minds other than “she might actually, kind of, be god?” Despite her solitary meditation on the matter (“No one knew about this, obvs”), Maya wonders if there had always been “girls with elusive powerful magic they can’t understand or unleash, because the patriarchy is stronger than god and much more insidious.” It’s this expansive way of thinking that makes up Maya’s appeal: she’s a magnetic personality who’s wholly aware of the systemic patterns that have shaped her, a dynamic that sets the stage of this tongue-in-cheek read. Seamlessly moving between the humorous and horrific realities of Maya’s omniscience, Wunder (The Museum of Intangible Things) chronicles the protagonist’s stay at Whispering Pines and her eventual enrollment at a new school where she makes a friend and happens upon potential romance. But Maya, realizing that her powers might have more practical applications, attempts to use them to help the people around her, a decision that results in a simultaneously wonderful yet wrenching climax that emphasizes how, even when one has hit rock bottom, there’s always hope. Maya reads as white. Ages 13–up. Agents: Joelle Hobeika and Sara Shandler, Alloy Entertainment. (Aug.)