cover image The Things We Miss

The Things We Miss

Leah Stecher. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5476-1302-1

Stecher’s speculative, heartrending debut eloquently portrays the joys and sorrows of being in seventh grade—and the importance of remaining present. Though Joan Phyllis “J.P.” Green’s first day of school is riddled with bullying based in anti-fat bias from classmates, the news that her favorite sci-fi show, Admiral K, is getting a movie brightens her dismal mood. Following a flippant wish to skip the awfulness of middle school, a new doorknob magically appears in her tree house. Passing through the door drops her consciousness into her own body, three days in the future—while she was physically present through the intervening time, she carries no memory of the events that occurred therein. With the help of her best friend Kevin Takagi, J.P. cautiously experiments with the door. But as the bullying escalates and her beloved Pop Pop begins chemotherapy treatments for cancer, her time-skips become an “escape hatch” from life’s unpleasantness—and all the good parts in between. Stecher doesn’t hold back, utilizing tear-jerking prose to portray devastating events throughout J.P.’s life, the harsh consequences that skipping them reaps, and the catharsis that facing her fears affords. J.P. and her family are Jewish and read as white; Kevin is Japanese American. Ages 9–12. Agent: Sam Farkas, Jill Grinberg Literary. (May)