cover image Dear Mothman

Dear Mothman

Robin Gow. Amulet, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4197-6440-0

An autistic, transgender sixth grader attempts to correspond with a cryptid following his best friend’s death in this poignant novel from Gow (A Million Quiet Revolutions). Lewis Hugh was the only person whom Noah Romano was out to; since Lewis died in a car accident three months ago, Noah has been feeling lonely and unmoored. Noah doesn’t believe in Mothman, as Lewis did, but he decides to use Lewis’s idea of finding the figure for a science fair project. As he hunts for proof, writing letters to Mothman that he leaves under a tree, he also receives thoughtful support from adults in his life and befriends a trio of LARPers. Alternating between first-person narration and letters to Mothman, and peppered with creepy-cute sketch-style illustrations, this touching free verse story abounds with hard-hitting and tender lines about grief, queerness, and neurodivergence—concepts that Noah ponders alongside the idea of monstrosity (“ ‘monster’ is what people become/ when other people are afraid of them/ for being different”). Steeped in the atmosphere of a Pennsylvania coal mining town, Noah’s journey to himself is at once melancholy and empowering. Noah is of Irish and Italian heritage; secondary characters represent racial diversity. Ages 10–14. Agent: Jordan Hamessley, New Leaf Literary. (Mar.)