The Only Girl in Town

Dutton. Sept. 2023. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593327173.
Gr 9 Up–From “Matched” trilogy author Condie comes this new novel. The story opens with July Fielding experiencing a nightmarish reality: everyone in town has disappeared. Or have they? She does find her cat, Yolo. Upon visiting her high school, July discovers that someone has written “Get Th3m Back” on the marquee. Readers and July are left with more questions than answers as that phrase appears in other places. As the book continues, July discovers objects referencing locations around town and memories of the summer before her senior year. The plot builds expertly, pulling readers in as they wonder what trauma July experienced and how the story will resolve. Through flashbacks, text messages, and counseling sessions, readers gain tidbits of July’s summer. The ending may leave readers wondering what just happened, but the story is a relatable coming-of-age tale and one can forgive this abrupt landing. Plus, (spoiler alert) it has a happy ending. Condie’s sparse text could be enjoyed by teens at a variety of reading levels. She also chose to leave the characters as mirrors in terms of ethnicity and physical characteristics.
VERDICT Recommended where Condie’s other titles circulate well.

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