cover image Infandous


Elana K. Arnold. Carolrhoda Lab, $18.99 (200p) ISBN 978-1-4677-3849-1

Sephora Golding, a 17-year-old found-object artist, used to imagine that her gorgeous mother’s life was a fairy tale, but their home on the seedier side of Venice Beach belies those fantasies, and the secret that Sephora is holding inside is the stuff of tragedy. Making haunting use of interspersed myths and fairy tales rife with brutal depictions of cannibalism, mutilation, and rape, Arnold (Sacred) crafts a simmering mystery about Sephora’s secret shame, her personal infandous—the “unspeakable shit” she carries with her. Sephora’s revelation is truly startling, though given the preternaturally close relationship Sephora and her mother share, it’s hard to imagine that Sephora keeps the bombshell under wraps without setting off her mother’s intuition. (Similarly, none of her friends bother with so much as a probing question while she crafts more twisted pieces of sculpture.) Nevertheless, Sephora’s painful journey and its lack of easy answers will stick with readers, as will its razor-sharp commentaries on sexual and societal double standards. Ages 13–up. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. (Mar.)