These Things I've Done

352p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062570901.
Gr 9 Up—Dara accidentally killed her best friend Aubrey. After 15 months away, she has returned to her hometown to face family and friends who may never forgive her, including the boy who almost came between her and her best friend. Complicating matters further are her feelings for Aubrey's younger brother Ethan. No longer the tag-along sibling, Ethan has grown into an interesting person in his own right, and Dara finds him far more attractive than she might wish. But will Ethan accept her, or will he hate her forever? And would Aubrey understand this one last betrayal? The buildup to the explanation of Aubrey's accident is well done, but the ending feels somewhat anticlimactic. Dara and Ethan come across as realistic teens, while their parents are slightly stereotypical and their emotions and motivations seldom explored. The plot is relatively simple, and there is no major crisis, beyond a redemptive one near the end, but the minutiae of teen life are authentic and engaging. Readers will root for Dara and hope that she absolves herself and reestablishes important relationships.
VERDICT An additional purchase for most school and public library YA collections.

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