Bryn Chancellor. Harper, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-
In this riveting first novel, 17-year-old Jess Winters, a recent
transplant to Sycamore, Ariz., disappears one night in 1991,
leaving behind a jagged hole in the community. Eighteen years
later, Laura Drennan, a new professor at Sycamore College,
goes hiking and accidentally discovers human bones in a dry
streambed near the campus. Word quickly spreads, and the
entire town wonders if Jess’s remains have been discovered. As
speculation runs high, we meet the former friends, classmates,
neighbors, and teachers who continue to be haunted by Jess’s
absence. They include her still-grieving mother, Maud Winters;
Angie Juarez, a high school friend who had an unrequited crush
on Jess; Paul Overton, a classmate who can’t forget his behavior at her last Thanksgiving dinner; Dani Newell, the best friend
who felt betrayed by her; and Stevie Prentiss, an outcast with a
secret. There are also flashbacks, which ultimately reveal what
happened to Jess on that fatal night. This is a movingly written,
multivoiced novel examining how one tragic circumstance can
sow doubt about fundamental things; as one character succinctly asks, “Do we really know anyone?” The author ends her
novel with a transporting vision of community, connection, and
forgiveness. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner.
Cherchez la Femme
Pick of the week
47 General Fiction
63 General Nonfiction
71 Picture Books
I Am the
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