cover image What You Left Me

What You Left Me

Bridget Morrissey. Sourcebooks Fire, $10.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5551-0

This absorbing first novel begins on graduation day. High school seniors Petra and Martin meet and form an unexpected bond while stuck “in the middle with 876 other sweaty kids” during the long ceremony. The two plan to see each other again at Martin’s graduation bash, but a car accident puts him in the hospital and the party never occurs. While Martin lies in a coma, hovering between life and death, Petra knows his brain is still intact; he’s entered her dreams to let her know, and she isn’t the only person he’s visited. Alternating points of view within chapters and intermingling dream sequences with reality, Morrissey shows how trauma strengthens existing friendships and brings strangers together. Petra relies on her own friends and Martin’s for support as she desperately attempts to relay a message he’s sent her. During the process, she learns some surprising information about the other teens and begins to come to terms with a dark secret that she has been hiding for too long. The extended use of dreams is a risky device, but Morrissey strikes a graceful balance between poetic description and visceral detail, ultimately delivering a tragic, suspenseful, and inspiring novel. Ages 14-up. [em]Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Waxman Leavell. (June) [/em]