Happily and Madly

Tor Teen. May 2019. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250195913.
Gr 9 Up–Seventeen-year-old Maris has been sent off to spend the summer in a New England seaside town with her estranged dad and his new family. Despite the challenging circumstances, Maris is determined to make it the best summer ever, dreaming of an exciting romance, beach days with her new stepsister Chelsea, and maybe even healing her relationship with her dad. Everything seems to be unfolding perfectly when Maris meets a mysterious boy named Finn, who is both dangerous and refreshingly honest. Then Maris discovers that Finn’s real name is Edison, and he’s none other than Chelsea’s enormously wealthy long-term boyfriend. Maris and Edison continue to see each other in secret even as her feelings of guilt and doubt grow. When Maris finally realizes that Edison is involved in a dark web of criminal activity, she works to uncover the truth about him and his family and protect those she loves. Bass is at her best in capturing both Maris’s pain over the estranged relationship with her dad, and the freedom and joy she discovers with Edison. The convoluted mystery plot seems tacked on and detracts from what is an otherwise satisfying examination of complex relationships and self-discovery.
VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy the machinations of complicated family and romantic relationships; mystery and thriller fans can skip it.

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