cover image No Perfect Places

No Perfect Places

Steven Salvatore. Bloomsbury, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5476-1107-2

Via immersive prose, Salvatore (And They Lived...) renders two teens’ fraught summer in Lake George, N.Y., for an atmospheric and intricate telling of grief, family secrets, and siblinghood. What used to be a relatively comfortable life for white teenage twins Alex and Olly Brucke has been upended by new financial stressors ever since their father was imprisoned for embezzlement 18 months ago. Things grow more complicated when Olly, who is nonbinary, receives a letter containing a paternity test meant for Dad from a teenager named Tyler Dell, who Olly learns is the twins’ half brother. Olly’s parents urge them to drop the matter and keep it secret from Alex, but Olly instead strikes up a clandestine email friendship with Tyler. After their father dies in prison, however, the narrative jumps to the following summer, in which grief-stricken Alex escapes her sorrows through illicit substances, and Olly spends time with their boyfriend, until the siblings’ lives are turned upside down once again when Tyler suddenly arrives in Lake George from Pennsylvania. Alex and Olly’s distinct alternating perspectives add depth and intimacy, cultivating a kaleidoscopic narrative that shines brightest when focused on the twins’ complex—and clearly loving—relationship. Ages 12–up. (May)