cover image The Opposite of Here

The Opposite of Here

Tara Altebrando. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-68119-706-7

Altebrando (The Leaving) gives a nod to Alfred Hitchcock in this taut thriller set over the course of a seven-day cruise. Natalie’s boyfriend recently died in a car crash, and her parents take her and three best friends on a birthday “sail-a-bration” in an effort to help her move on. Within hours of leaving port, Natalie meets a handsome, mysterious boy and for the first time she feels interest in someone new—but he soon disappears, and he may have gone overboard. Altebrando writes in a spare, detached prose style, befitting her emotionally distant protagonist and the unsettling circumstances. The cruise ship setting becomes increasingly claustrophobic, as Natalie and her friends struggle under the weight of their own secrets. An eeriness pervades each reveal, as Natalie searches for the mystery boy and uncovers clues—even as her friends begin to wonder if he actually exists. Natalie’s romance with another boy on the ship somewhat detracts from the psychological intensity of the story, but this is a fast-paced and complicated mystery filled with uncertainty and dread. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: David Dunton, Harvey Klinger. (June) [/em]