Thank you, NetGalley and West 44 Books, for the chance to read and review Everything You Left Me by Paige Classey.
A HI/LO book in Verse
It’s essential to remember that West 44 Books exclusively publishes books for younger readers, so middle-grade and young adult. Everything You Left Me follows this theme as a HI/LO book but in verse. Hi/Lo (also hi-lo) means that the book covers a fascinating subject but is also at a low reading level. This article at Publishers Weekly is a great way to understand more about HI/LO books!
I mention this because when you open amazon and look at Everything You Left Me, it’s billed as being ideal for 7-9-year-olds to read. And yet it’s also in the Teen and Young Adult fiction category. This is something that the publishers may want to correct; the point of HI/LO is to get people into reading and to not shame them. Even if we hand this book to a 13-year-old, do we really want them to feel like they’re reading something for little kids? Given that Young Adult ranges from 18-26 (I just realized I’m no longer in that category and I feel old), we should be careful about how it’s sold on amazon.
Keeping all that to the side, Everything You Left Me is excellent! It’s effortless to read, the book is presented nicely, and the story is compelling.
The story is set in a small, mostly-white town that Maybeth and most of her friends aspire to leave. As she works towards this goal and is set to graduate as valedictorian, she finds out that her estranged father is a serial killer.
The book shows us what Maybeth is going through as this happens. There is a happy ending or an ending with as much happiness as can be expected. The little details Classey includes, like the postcards, were awesome! This 200 page book is Paige Classey’s debut novel and comes out on the 16th of February.
When the police come knocking at her door, Maybeth is worried her mother is caught up in their small town’s drug scene again. Instead, the police are there to question Maybeth about her beloved and long-absent father. He has become the lead suspect in a string of unsolved murders across the country…and Maybeth may be the key to convicting him. Trapped between her scientific mind and her love for her father, Maybeth is forced to confront the reality of who her father really is–and what that might make her as well.
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