cover image The Fall of Innocence

The Fall of Innocence

Jenny Torres Sanchez. Philomel, $18.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3775-7

In December 1985, someone brutally assaulted eight-year-old Emilia DeJesus and left her for dead on an elementary-school playground in Hempstead, N.Y. Nine years later, Emilia is trying to put the past behind her and live the life of a normal teenage girl when she learns that the man she identified as her attacker was wrongfully convicted due to a false confession and is about to be released from prison. The news sends Emilia reeling as long-suppressed memories flood back. The more she recalls, the further she withdraws from friends and family and the deeper she retreats into the fantasies that comforted her as a kid. Sanchez (Because of the Sun) thoughtfully explores the damage wrought by childhood trauma and the effects that violent crime can have on those associated with the victim. Emilia’s inner world both captivates and devastates, and while some readers may not find the book’s grim conclusion satisfying, a subplot involving Emilia’s brother’s difficult but meaningful journey toward understanding and acceptance of his own sexuality and gender identity give the tale much-needed hope. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Rostan. (June) [/em]