The Queen of Junk Island

Annick. May 2022. 400p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781773216355; pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781773216348.
Gr 9 Up–Sixteen-year-old Dell and her mother head to the family cabin outside of the city for the summer to clean it up after the previous renter turned it into a literal dump. To her mom, this is an opportunity for the two to bond and put distance between Dell and the trauma caused by her ex-boyfriend. Unknown to Dell, Ivy, the 17-year-old daughter of her mother’s boyfriend, is also staying with them. To Dell, Ivy feels like everything she is not, making her more aware of her internalized shame, yet there’s a magnetism to her that Dell cannot escape. While the two pick up around the property, Dell uncovers secrets about her mother, her family’s past, and confronts her own sexuality. Jones’s debut novel is raw and gritty, following Dell’s quest of self-discovery and her inner, claustrophobic thoughts, that in some way mirror the trash piles surrounding the cabin. While the author’s note is extremely helpful in contextualizing the story, it is better read first to set this story in a place and time, and to clarify the attitudes of the characters. At times, Jones drags out the reveal of the events that took place between Dell and her ex-boyfriend too slowly and her mother is painfully avoidant.
VERDICT If funds allow, this is a good addition to larger collections.

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