cover image The Museum of Intangible Things

The Museum of Intangible Things

Wendy Wunder. Razorbill, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59514-514-7

Wunder (The Probability of Miracles) tackles friendship and mental illness in this nuanced second novel about two best friends: intelligent, grounded narrator Hannah and charismatic Zoe, who has bipolar disorder. A strong setting roots the narrative as the girls bide time in their dead-end New Jersey town. When Hannah’s alcoholic father steals her meager college funds (earned selling hot dogs), and a playboy mistreats Zoe, prompting a manic episode, the two girls embark on a cross-country road trip. Wunder believably escalates Zoe’s mania, documenting her lack of sleep and appetite, racing thoughts, grandiosity, and belief that she communicates with aliens. Along the way, Zoe attempts to instruct the ever-practical Hannah in such intangibilities as audacity, insouciance, and love. As Zoe’s illness escalates, so does the danger, and a perceived betrayal causes Zoe to desert Hannah; to find her, Hannah contacts her crush in New Jersey, introducing a first love storyline. A cast of well-rounded and memorable characters and a realistic perspective on mental illness make for a thought-provoking story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sara Shandler, Alloy Entertainment. (Apr.)