cover image Teeny Little Grief Machines

Teeny Little Grief Machines

Linda Oatman High. Saddleback, $9.95 trade paper (252p) ISBN 978-1-62250-883-9

It’s never been easy for 16-year-old Lexi to live with her dysfunctional family. But when her infant stepsister dies suddenly, her father goes to jail for his second DUI, and her autistic stepbrother goes missing on Lexi’s watch, the cumulative grief and pressure cause Lexi to come unmoored, and she suffers a depressive breakdown. Lexi unflinchingly shares her emotions as she narrates her experiences in the brief poems that serve as chapters in this Gravel Road Verse volume, which is written at a third-grade reading level. Though Lexi lacks a strong support system at home, High depicts Lexi receiving professional medical help for her illness while introducing positive adult figures at her school. Lexi makes a solid and hopeful recovery in a way that suggests a new phase of her teenage life and doesn’t come across as pat or predictable. Simultaneously available: Otherwise. Ages 15–up. (Sept.)