The Leading Edge of Now
336p. KCP Loft. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781525301292; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781525301391.
Gr 9 Up—It's been two years since Grace's father died and her Uncle Rusty disappeared, leaving her in foster care. Now that Rusty is finally ready to become her legal guardian, Grace is returning to New Harbor, the quaint beach town where she spent her childhood summers and the site of a traumatic assault that Grace can barely remember. The last time she and her father stayed with Uncle Rusty, Grace remembers kissing her boyfriend, Owen, in her bedroom, telling him she didn't want to go any further, and nothing else (she had taken an Ambien to counter illness-induced insomnia.) In the morning, Grace woke up and realized she had been raped. Shortly after, her father had a heart attack, and Grace tried to forget about her assault, stealing the wallets of male strangers and donating their money to charity as a coping strategy. In the present, Grace has mostly learned to deal with her grief over her father's death, but she must now come to terms with Rusty's abandonment, her estrangement from Owen's sister and her childhood best friend Janna, and, crucially, the mystery of what really happened that night. Grace's humorous narration will draw some readers in, and the beach town setting, while not particularly fleshed out, also appeals. Unfortunately, implausible plotting undermines this examination of grief and the aftereffects of sexual abuse. Characters don't act consistently, and some narrative threads are never satisfyingly resolved.
VERDICT An additional purchase where beach reads with weighty emotional themes and a touch of melodrama are popular.

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