Message Not Found

Quill Tree/HarperCollins/. Mar. 2022. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062954435.
Gr 9 Up–This book brings to light the heartache, pain, and emptiness felt when grieving from a loss. Anchorage, AK, teen Bailey (short brown bob) and her best friend Vanessa (long red hair) are the definition of best friends. But when Vanessa dies in a car accident in a part of town far from her house, Bailey is left with many unanswered questions about where her friend was going that night. Bailey misses Vanessa so much that she creates a chat bot using Vanessa’s old texts and emails they shared together. Bailey, hoping this bot will bring her closure, bites off more than she can chew when she learns through AI-Vanessa that Vanessa was hiding a secret that would have torn them apart. Medema’s story focuses mostly on Bailey’s grief, which is heightened by her relationships with her ex-boyfriend Cade, who seemingly wants to be with her again, and Vanessa’s boyfriend Mason, who relies heavily on Bailey for companionship. The way Bailey deals with grief feels completely natural and realistic; she is an emotional and introspective character. Readers will sympathize with her, but may also ponder how far is too far when it comes to receiving closure. In the end, Bailey learns an important lesson about what true friendship feels like, and that forgiveness may be the key to dealing with grief. Most characters appear white.
VERDICT For readers who loved Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay and E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars.

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