The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly

Putnam. Feb. 2020. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984813497.
Gr 9 Up–Autumn Casterly is ready to get out of her town. She has dreams and a college she wants to attend—not ideas normally associated with the school’s biggest drug dealer. Ivy, Autumn’s board game–playing, band-loving, nerdy younger sister couldn’t be more different than tough and often absent Autumn. So when Autumn doesn’t come home one evening, Ivy doesn’t seem too surprised, except she has a strange feeling that things are not right. With alternating perspectives between the sisters, readers know that something terrible has happened to Autumn and Ivy investigates, often without the help of the adults in her life. As the story progresses, readers see glimpses of an assault that led to Autumn’s distance from her family and see how the abuser faced no repercussions while Autumn’s life fell to pieces. Ivy, with the help of her friends, begins to understand her sister more and more as she finds clues and pieces of her life. The mystery is engaging and readers will root for Ivy to find her sister in time. This book touches on important social issues around rape culture, shedding light on an experience when an abuser walks free and the survivor sees more damage to her reputation than the perpetrator to his.
VERDICT Recommended for libraries wanting mysteries with substance.

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