This is a beautiful, quiet book about grief and friendship and recognizing when the people you love are broken. It's also about the power of sticking with those close to you until they are on the road to healing.
Marin moves to New York from California to start college after a catastrophic event that happens at the end of the summer. The reader isn't sure what's happened, but it's obvious that Marin is isolated and left alone in the dorms for winter break after her room-mate, Hannah, and everyone else has gone home for the holidays. Marin's best friend Mabel is planning to visit and based on the preparations and anxiety, this visit is an important one.
As the story unfolds, Marin learns that Mabel has a new boyfriend named Jacob. It turns out that Marin and Mabel were romantically involved over the summer. What's happened since then and why Marin is left all alone are the big questions. It's obvious that Mabel is not giving up on Marin, even though she is moving in a different direction with her life, and has put in extraordinary amounts of time to make sure Marin's not lost to her. This commitment to friendship is portrayed superbly.
Like I mentioned earlier, this is a quiet book. Nothing is going to jump out at you; there are no shocking moments of clarity. There's just a sad explanation for what's been going on. It was a stunning revelation in some ways, but made sense, and melted away with person-to-person contact, cornbread, holiday gift giving and a few other seemingly mundane but in reality achingly special moments.
Congratulations to the author for winning the 2018 Michael Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults. This is an exceptional book.