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LaMarche, Una. Don't Fail Me Now.

5Q * 4P * M * J (A)

LaMarche, Una. Don't Fail Me Now. Razorbill/Penguin, 2015. 288p. $17.99. 9781-59514-817-9.

Burdened by school and a job, Michelle, her siblings, and her half-sister she has never met before take a road trip. Their father is in hospice and getting to California is the only way to reconcile why he abandoned both their families. Michelle, brother Denny, and sister Cass pile into their unreliable car, Goldie, along with Leah and her stepbrother Tim. They leave behind Michelle's mom, who is in jail again on drug charges, and Leah's stepdad, who does not realize the teens have his credit card. The further west the road trip progresses, the more issues that arise; Michelle has mixed feelings about Tim, Cass is not managing her diabetes properly, and Goldie seems poised to break down for good.

Don't Fail Me Now is a highly relevant and necessary part of our conversation about race, poverty, and privilege. This clean and sharp novel touches on inflammatory political issues and would compliment a conversation on current events. With a fast paced plot and believable characters, it is easy to read this book in one sitting. Not only is the story compelling but the teens' predicament is worrisome enough to keep readers reading long past bedtime. While the story is lightly sprinkled with pop culture references, it is just enough to lure the reader closer but nothing that would date the story. This is a must read.--Laura C. Perenic.

(A) Highlighted Reviews

(B) Graphic Novel Format

Limelights. Orea, 2015. $9.95 Trade pb.

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Author:Perenic, Laura C.
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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