I Loved You in Another Life

Viking. Oct. 2023. 352p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593524787.
Gr 8 Up–Two Midwestern teens are adrift as they fail to make decisions about their future. Shosh has graduated from high school and was set to attend college in Los Angeles to become a performing artist. When her sister is killed in a car accident by a drunk driver, Shosh is devastated and freezes in place at home. Evan is a senior and dreams of taking a gap year in Alaska with the Headlands program, but he is so worried about his single mother and seven-year-old brother that he can’t imagine what might befall them if he leaves. The two connect at a nearby park when they discover they, but no one else, are hearing the same mysterious songs from a singer they name Nightbird. As their relationship progresses, they learn to accept their pain and begin to heal and make future plans. Interwoven with their story are stories of other lost souls from the past and future, in places like Tokyo and Norway, who find a similar connection. The book is written from multiple characters’ points of view. Readers will find Evan’s brother’s obsession with E.T. charming, and will wish they had a teacher who rooted for them like Shosh’s Ms. Clark. Along with the love story, there are heavy themes affecting the characters including alcoholism, mental health issues, divorce, cancer, and death.
VERDICT Teen readers will adore this quirky love story that weaves two contemporary souls with the past and the future.

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