That Summer Night on Frenchmen Street

Chris Clarkson. Tu, $21.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-6437-9501-0

Clarkson follows a group of New Orleans teens coming together to overcome past traumas and carve new paths forward in this weighty debut. Black 17-year-old Jessamine Grace Monet plays things close to the vest. Burdened by her memories of Hurricane Katrina and facing college in the fall, she has more to worry about than love. But when white 17-year-old Tennessee Rebel Williams arrives in New Orleans with his bigoted father and emotionally absent mother, there’s an immediate connection between the two. Meanwhile, Jess’s scholarly—and closeted—twin brother Joel maneuvers advances from a classmate, while the twins’ out and proud trans cousin Solange navigates her disappointed mother’s declining health. As the teens’ lives converge, they must learn to open up to one another and confront their respective pasts to make way for their futures. Though a shifting tone can undercut heavy moments, and a character’s undisclosed mental illness leans on stereotype, Clarkson eschews tidy relationships and characterizations in an emotionally extravagant, slowly paced depiction of complex familial circumstances and young love’s trials. Ages 14–up. Agent: Rachel Brooks, BookEnds Literary. (June)
PW EDITORS’ PICKS FOR
THE BEST NEW BOOKS
PW EDITORS’ PICKS FOR THE BEST NEW BOOKS