Forget This Ever Happened

Holiday House. Oct. 2020. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823446087.
Gr 7 Up–What happens in Indianola, TX, stays in Indianola, TX—by design. For reasons the adults in her life don’t seem to want to articulate, Claire has been shipped off to the small town to take care of her ailing (and unpleasant) grandmother for the summer. The surprise of encountering a bizarre monster-like creature in her backyard is surpassed by her surprise at the town’s resigned nonchalance about its presence. It turns out Indianola has “had” monsters for years, but once you leave the city limits you forget about them. Breaking the historical boundary agreements about where they are and aren’t allowed to be, the monsters seem to be circling in closer to town, or more specifically, closer to Claire. As she gets to know some other local teens—the unsettlingly perfect Audrey, and the cool (and cute) monster exterminator, Julie—Claire’s memory and perception becomes increasingly muted and foggy. It’s clear there are dark forces at play, and Julie and Claire dig into the town’s past to try to find some answers. This quick, fun sci-fi mystery is uncomplicated but intriguing, has a fair amount of buried small-town resentments, and involves a sweet queer romance plotline. The disorientation Claire feels as she makes her way through Indianola is shared by the reader to fun and atmospheric effect, and the depiction of the benign, but deeply out-of-place, monsters is well done.
VERDICT A fun, mysterious read for fans of light sci-fi.

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