"All her life, seventeen-year-old Iph has protected her sensitive younger brother, Orr. But this summer, with their mother gone at an artist residency, their father decides it’s time for fifteen-year-old Orr to toughen up at a wilderness boot camp. When their father brings Iph to a work gala in downtown Portland and breaks the news, Orr has already been sent away against his will. Furious at her father’s betrayal, Iph storms off and gets lost in the maze of Old Town. Enter George, a queer Robin Hood who swoops in on a bicycle, bow and arrow at the ready, offering Iph a place to hide out while she tracks down Orr. Orr, in the meantime, has escaped the camp and fallen in with The Furies, an all-girl punk band, and moves into the coat closet of their ramshackle pink house. In their first summer apart, Iph and Orr must learn to navigate their respective new spaces of music, romance, and sex-work activism—and find each other before a fantastical transformation fractures their family forever."

written by Sophie

This is an unconventional YA novel that is rooted in myth, fairy tale, and Shakespeare. Set in 1990s Portland, Oregon, through a magical realistic lens. Ther’s A LOT here, including a large, diverse rainbow cast of characters, parent-child relationship tension, sibling relationship tension, falling in love for the first time, finding your feet, and much more. And everyone is gorgeous in their own way and very, very cool. And kind.

It was a bit too much for me, to be honest. Because there is so much going on I never really connected with the book. And I was a teen in the early 1990s, too – but my word I was never this suave. Especially not in my awkwardness. Also, I was never a theater kid, really (jock to my marrow), so that was another layer I missed.

Still, it is not your average YA, and that’s to be cherished. If you love myths and fairy tales and don’t mind somewhat over-the-top plots twists there’s a lot to love here.

N.B.: This review was first published on Instagram by @sophie_bookseller

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