FICTION
Monday's Not Coming
448p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062422675.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarGr 9 Up—Galvanized by real-life accounts of black girls whose disappearances went unnoticed, the author depicts a young African American teen unwilling to let her best friend fall through the cracks. Claudia frets when Monday misses the first day of eighth grade, and her worries increase when weeks, and then months, go by with no sign of the girl. Both outsiders, the two have always tried to protect each other: academically gifted Monday keeps teachers from realizing that Claudia has learning disabilities, and Claudia's stable family gives Monday a respite from her often erratic home life. Monday's mother and older sister offer conflicting stories about where she is, and even sympathetic adults are little help—Claudia alone becomes Monday's champion. Just as Jackson's suspenseful debut, Allegedly, explored the corrupt justice system, this thought-provoking thriller examines issues such as abuse, gentrification, and the marginalization of people of color with nuance and sensitivity. The narrative deftly moves back and forth between past and present, building to a devastating conclusion. The Washington, DC, setting is superbly rendered, and the author presents a rich portrayal of the girls' bond, displaying an intuitive understanding of adolescent friendship.
VERDICT A spellbinding, profoundly moving choice for YA collections.

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