FICTION

Four Three Two One

400p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Nov. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062398543.
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Gr 9 Up—The author's latest is an earnest exploration of the emotional debris that trauma leaves in its wake. A year after surviving a deadly bus bombing, Golden "Go" Jennings makes the impulsive decision to rally her three fellow survivors and, together, board an artistic installation of Bus 21, reassembled from the rubble left behind. Though the teens lived through the unimaginable, moving past the guilt and fear they carry is not easy. As they make their way toward New York City to revisit the site of the explosion, they must come face to face with their own truths and secrets about that fateful day. Although the pace of the novel builds slowly, the unhurried development of characters and events makes for a satisfying crescendo. The author writes with depth and emotion, and the characters she creates are relatable, even for readers who have not experienced a trauma as public or as far-reaching as the explosion that sets this particular story into motion. In fact, there are many details to which some teens may not directly relate: Go's childhood on a commune in Kentucky, for example, or the expectations Go's family has that she begin to settle down with her boyfriend at such a young age. Yet within the story, these details feel natural and lend a unique edge to the novel.
VERDICT A great choice for most YA shelves.

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