cover image Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not

Alyson Derrick. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-6659-0237-3

Because of pervasive racism and homophobia in their small Pennsylvania town, teenagers Stevie Green, who is Korean and assumed white, and white Nora Martin must hide their romantic relationship. The two have been saving money to attend college in California after graduation, and they are only a few months away from their goal when Stevie is involved in a devastating accident. Upon waking in the hospital, she can’t recall the last two years of her life, which includes coming to terms with her sexuality and any memories of her relationship with Nora. Now, Stevie struggles to acclimate to a life that feels wrong: When did she and her mother get so distant? Why do her father and friends parrot the community’s prejudiced rhetoric? What is her relationship to Nora? Nora, meanwhile, wrestles with figuring out how to win Stevie back and writes letters to Stevie that she doesn’t intend to send. This high-concept solo debut by Derrick (She Gets the Girl) is part simmering romance, part affecting character study; Stevie’s palpable frustrations with the people around her who keep telling her who she is and what she wants, juxtaposed with her own feelings of unease, cultivate a textured telling that eschews clichéd interpretations of the belief that love conquers all. Ages 14–up. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Apr.)