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Autumn Casterly is a high school senior and drug dealer who hopes to make enough money to leave her town and her past behind. Popular but aloof, she hasn’t trusted anyone or had a real friend since her mother died. Ivy, her younger sister, is her polar opposite. She surrounds herself with a group of caring friends who share her similar “nerdy” interests. The sisters have become strangers since their mother’s death, but when one of Autumn’s deals goes wrong, she’s beaten and held hostage. Between life and death, Autumn leaves her body and wanders as a sort of ghost, her presence only somewhat felt by her sister. Together, they must work to find and rescue Autumn before it’s too late, uncovering secrets from their past and present to understand her kidnapping as well as the deterioration of their relationship.
I enjoyed reading this book; it was engaging, suspenseful, and authentic. While the dialogue at the beginning is a bit cheesy and the characters start out pretty stereotypical, it eventually builds into a gripping tale of two sisters as they reconnect after years as they deal with their grief and trauma of the past while solving the current mystery of Autumn’s disappearance. Ivy takes life-threatening risks and faces imminent danger to save her sister while Autumn struggles on the brink of death to figure out what happened to her. The switching of the perspectives between Autumn and Ivy gives a meaningful insight into the action as well as on how their mindsets originally clash and then develop over time. Furthermore, the handling of issues such as poverty, loss, consent, and others, are done well and woven into the plot realistically, helping the more mature themes of the book stand out and convey important messages to the reader.
The most memorable part of this story for me was Autumn’s development as a character. With her new vantage point as a sort of ‘spirit’, she’s able to watch how she affects the people in her life from an outsider’s perspective. As she learns from these experiences, and as we learn more about her and her past, her character development becomes more complex and compelling. Autumn’s growth is written realistically and masterfully, making her a memorable and sympathetic character.
Reviewed by Ananya, Twin Hickory Library