Throwaway Girls

KCP Loft. Sept. 2020. 384p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781525303142.
Gr 9 Up–In this YA debut, high school senior Caroline Lawson is born into privilege, a bright and athletic teen who is poised to graduate from a prestigious boarding school in western Maryland. However, Caroline is also reeling from a breakup with her girlfriend, recovery from the trauma of conversion therapy, and the disappearance of her best friend Madison. Caroline’s experiences give her a unique window into the hardscrabble world of vulnerable girls in nearby West Virginia and launch her into a perilous search for Madison and others who have vanished. A subplot in which a beloved teacher is accused of an improper relationship with Caroline detracts from the story, while her rough language and reliance on her flavored vape do not feel authentic. Yet, Caroline’s courage in saving Madison and seeking justice ring true, propelling her toward a confrontation with a killer from her own community.
VERDICT While the book falls short on character and setting development, Contos writes with an urgency that will keep readers involved in Caroline’s journey and her efforts to remain true to herself.

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