cover image The Minus-One Club

The Minus-One Club

Kekla Magoon. Holt, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-80620-8

Soon after 15-year-old Kermit Sanders’s older sister is killed by a drunk driver, Kermit is anonymously invited to the secret Minus-One Club, comprising fellow students from his high school who have all lost an immediate family member. The club only has two major rules: no one outside the Minus-One Club is to know about its existence, and members must never discuss death. Longing for community and support, Kermit agrees to join and, in doing so, begins bonding with his crush, Matt Rincorn. While Matt is openly gay, Kermit isn’t; due to his devoutly evangelical upbringing, he is fearful of exploring his sexuality. The homophobia that Kermit experiences both internally and from his religious parents, compounded by the club’s strict rules—avoiding discussions of death results in a lack of grief processing for several of its members—triggers potentially fatal breakdowns. Exploring the multitude of ways people grieve, Magoon (Chester Keene Cracks the Code) tells an emotionally complex narrative that emphasizes the importance of the roles loved ones play in individual lives and the ways one can be forever changed when they’re gone. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)