- Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Library ed. ISBN 9781984892607 $20.99
Trade ed. ISBN 9781984892591 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9781984892614 $10.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R Gr. 8–12
The opening story, “Angry Starfish,” situates readers in familiar YA territory: Gina, furious with her father’s new relationship, takes her anger out on the new girlfriend’s daughter, Poppy, a young child who sublimates an unspecified trauma through an intense friendship with an imaginary friend. Readers of Hitchcock’s The Smell of Other People’s Houses (BCCB 4/16) will know this deceptively self-contained tale is leading somewhere, but where should they look? To Gina and the parental drama? Or to Poppy and her Elizabeth? As story after story unfolds, bouncing among locales in Alaska, Colorado, and the coastal Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock patiently guides readers along a shadowy path through twin mysteries involving a predatory priest and an abducted child, with clues to the solutions cagily hidden among the quotidian friendship, romantic, and domestic dramas that inexorably interconnect. Most tales are intriguing in their own right: the friends who suspect they might share the same father; a young man suffering from amnesia brought on by shellfish poisoning; the high school seductress with no compunction over lengthening her list of conquests; a wildfire that draws together a diffident young woman and a firefighter ready to break a troublesome relationship There’s an purposeful orderliness to the tales’ positioning that allows references and clues from previous stories to accumulate en route to the final reveals. This will inspire readers to count degrees of separation and ponder the temporal and spatial distances tragedy can reach.