Each Night Was Illuminated

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Sept. 2022. 256p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062393579.
Gr 9 Up–Cassie Blake wanted to become a nun when she grew up. This all changes when she and the new boy in her New Jersey town, Elias Jones, watch a horrific accident that changes her entire belief in God. This is three books packed into one. The first part focuses on Cassie’s struggle with faith and the conflicting emotions she feels about being the main caregiver for her younger brother, Gabe, after her mother’s departure. The second part questions Cassie’s relationships with her town and church after Elias, a visitor from Australia, unveils the town’s prejudice and racism. Finally, the third section brings even more turmoil when a massive natural disaster comes to town and sweeps away everything. In what will feel relatable to teens today, Cassie’s story is a rollercoaster of emotions, change, and facing the real world outside of the comfort of one’s hometown. Cassie is white, Elias is described as having brown skin and black hair with a grandmother from Bangladesh.
VERDICT A unique story that captures every angle of being a teen in today’s world, this is a must-read.

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