cover image Lawless Spaces

Lawless Spaces

Corey Ann Haydu. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (496p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3706-7

Haydu’s (Ever Cursed) powerfully told verse novel centers toxic familial legacies and women’s experiences with stereotyping and the male gaze via the lens of a single family’s tradition. On her 16th birthday, presumed-white social media influencer Mimi Dovewick’s mother gives her a blank notebook, instructing her to fill it as generations of Dovewicks have done before. The same day, Mimi’s mother disappears, having made accusations of sexual assault against a Hollywood director she knew when she was a 16-year-old aspiring actor. Alone, struggling with a memory of her own, and with only the journals of past Dovewick women to guide her, Mimi begins to unravel the experiences that have contributed to the creation of her own curated online persona. Through journal entries penned in 1924, 1954, 1971, and 1999, Mimi’s matrilineal ancestors, who share the teen’s short stature, curves, and blond hair, recount things otherwise left unsaid, including mistreatment by men and complicated relationships with their mothers. Haydu’s adept use of verse and structure add a sense of intimacy to the contemporarily resonant narrative, vividly conjuring the story and the women at its heart. Ages 14–up. Agent: Victoria Marini, Irene Goodman Literary. (Jan.)