Fifteen-year-old Miranda Allerdon and her older sister, Lander, are spending another summer at their parents' idyllic cottage on the Connecticut River. Miranda lazes about with the neighborhood kids while Lander focuses intensely on her medical studies, essentially ignoring her younger sister. After the Allerdons and their neighbors witness a frightening boating accident, Lander inexplicably begins dating one of the men involved in the accident—a man Miranda thinks is dangerous. Unfortunately, the sisters have never been close, and Lander refuses to consider Miranda’s warnings. Then Lander is arrested for murder, and the Allerdons scramble to help their eldest daughter. Only Miranda manages to think clearly as she circumvents the police in an effort to clear her sister’s name.
The legendary Caroline B. Cooney has penned another suspenseful pageturner with No Such Person, which alternates between two present-tense narratives: Miranda at home and Lander in a grimy jail cell as she tries make sense of the events. Although Lander is considered to be the ultra-driven sister, she is unable to help herself as police interrogate her. Meanwhile, Miranda, often criticized for her lack of ambition, attempts to prove what the police, and even her parents, cannot.
What’s extraordinary is how Cooney has written the Allerdons as a typical American family who are thrust into a tragic situation. This isn’t a far-fetched plot but a story of an authentic family being tested at their most vulnerable moment.
Kimberly Giarratano is the author of Grunge Gods and Graveyards, a young adult paranormal mystery.