June 2016, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 384 pp)
A quirky black comedy about oddball teens facing mortality. Focused on strong friendships and madcap adventures, this is a John Hughes movie in novel form.
The life of homeschooler Stevie Hart gets all shook up when she meets Max, a strange boy who survived a freak near-fatal accident and is now obsessed with death. He enlists her and her best friend, Sanger, to help him complete his absurd “23 Ways to Fake My Death Without Dying” checklist. What starts off as fun fabricated demises, ranging from impalement to spontaneous combustion, begins spiraling downward when Stevie’s diabetes sabotages her fumbling romance with Max, Sanger announces she’s moving out of state, and then death—real death—cuts a little too close to home.
KIRKUS – “The smart, efficient language features dialogue that pops. A sweet story told with intelligence, humor, and just the right amount of kissing.”
BOOKLIST – “Winsome characters, crackling dialogue… A well-rounded cast of secondary characters, a slant approach to a serious topic, and a sensitive exploration of the fraught dynamics of a home-schooling co-op add further depth.”