The 9:09 Project

Delacorte. Nov. 2022. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593309759.
Gr 7 Up–Jamison is a photographer—he eats, sleeps, and breathes the images he captures. His ritual is to go to the same street corner at 9:09 every night and snap whoever is walking by with his Nikon. The time is so specific because that’s the time, two years ago, his mother passed away after a long battle with cancer. Jamison has a strong relationship with his younger sister, Ollie, who starts as a freshman in his high school. Her instant popularity helps open doors for Jamison’s nonexistent social life, especially with his longtime crush, Kennedy, who takes advantage of his photography skills to put together her modeling portfolio. Kennedy’s subsequent disinterest in him, combined with the negative attention he receives from his new classmate nicknamed AK-47, drives him to focus on creating a website to highlight his photos of what he calls “The 9:09 Project.” Jamison’s isolation and sadness from the loss of his mother will be instantly relatable to teens. The descriptions of Jamison’s synesthesia and how he visually perceives numbers and concepts is a great introduction on how a large segment of the population perceives the world in a completely different way. Jamison talks about how he has adapted and learned to live his life with synesthesia; his mother shared his perceptual condition and could understand him in a way that he feels other members of his family can’t.
VERDICT An engaging, thought-provoking title that is easy to read, hard to put down, and will have readers wondering about the characters long after they’ve finished it. A highly recommended purchase.

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