A heart-wrenching novel about best friends on a collision course with the real world from Amy Zhang, the critically acclaimed Indies Introduce and Indie Next author of Falling into Place.
Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivien moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship—as long as no one finds out about it. But then Janie goes missing and everything Micah thought he knew about his best friend is colored with doubt.
Using a nonlinear writing style and dual narrators, Amy Zhang masterfully reveals the circumstances surrounding Janie’s disappearance in an astonishing second novel that will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver.
Eighteen-year-old Micah Carter cannot remember what happened on the night his "soul mate" Janie's house burned down. Though Micah is questioned by therapists, police officers, and his friend Dewey, his memory is disjointed, a problem exacerbated by frequent drinking. As he sifts through recollections of Janie, Micah realizes that despite their secret friendship and mutual desire, Janie, an artist obsessed with dream boyfriend Ander, is a stranger. Zhang (Falling into Place) switches between Janie's thoughts before the fire and Micah's after, bridging the two with unsettling fractured fairy tales from Janie's senior English project that highlight her change after being assaulted. While Zhang's subject and tone recall books like Paper Towns and Thirteen Reasons Why, the symbolic aspects of the text turn repetitive and blunt the emotional underpinnings of the novel. The mystery of the fire propels readers forward, yet Micah's final lesson learned "Just be a better friend, you idiot" comes across as glib, and his relationship with Dewey underdeveloped. Ages 14 up.