Pretend She's Here

352p. Scholastic. Feb. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338298505.
Gr 9 Up—It has been exactly a year since Emily Lonergan's best friend, Lizzie Porter, has died from cancer. Lizzie's family moves out of town and Emily has taken to talking to Lizzie's spirit throughout the school day. As Emily is going home from school on Lizzie's one year death anniversary, Chloe, Lizzie's little sister, approaches Emily and tells her that she and her parents came to town to visit Lizzie's grave. Chloes asks Emily if she would like to come with them. Emily quickly agrees and the girls get in the Porter's van. As they pass the cemetery, Mrs. Porter tells Emily that she is now going to be Emily and live with them. When Emily struggles and tries to escape, she is drugged. When she wakes up groggy, her hair has been dyed to look like Lizzy's and contacts have been put in her eyes to match Lizzy's. Emily gives up hope that she will be found, and Mrs. Porter enrolls her at the local high school. Lots of twists and turns then occur leading up to the thrilling climax and denouement. The author's excellent, vivid writing style and extremely captivating plotting will immerse teens. Readers will feel like they are a part of Emily's world and experiences.
VERDICT A must-purchase for all YA collections.

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