A rising senior’s summer follows diverging romantic trajectories in parallel timelines.
Adelaide Buchwald is spending the summer dogsitting for her teachers at Alabaster Prep, an elite New England boarding school—and processing both her recent breakup and her brother Toby’s opioid addiction. Soon she runs into Jack Cavallero, a boy who wrote a poem about her two years prior—“She contains / contradictions,” he wrote—and whom she’s idealized ever since. The narrative then breaks into several possibilities of how their relationship might progress. Adelaide also works to complete a set design for Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love to save a failing grade from the previous year and tremulously starts to rebuild her bond with her brother despite her feelings of betrayal after the pain his addiction has caused the family. In addition to the fractured timelines, Adelaide’s narrative voice occasionally fractures with added line breaks when her emotions are most heightened. Adelaide is white, Jewish, and on reduced tuition at the largely wealthy and WASP-y Alabaster; Jack is olive-skinned, and several secondary characters are racially diverse. What begins as a typical YA romance becomes a thoughtful exploration of the expectations Adelaide places on herself and others; in each timeline, she must confront her own fears and shortcomings. Toby’s addiction is sensitively portrayed; the sibling relationship emerges as the true heart of this story in any timeline.
A thoughtfully subversive exploration of the diverging pathways of the human heart.(Fiction. 14-18)