Despite the title, this engaging mystery from debut author Chelsea Sedoti isn’t about the popular, enviable Lizzie, but about 17-year-old Hawthorn Creely, the lonely outcast who becomes obsessed with Lizzie’s disappearance. Hawthorn has always been a loner. Her sarcasm, dry wit and occasional rudeness have left her with only one friend, and even that relationship hangs by a thread. So when Lizzie is reported missing, Hawthorn inserts herself into Lizzie’s old life by taking over Lizzie’s former job and hanging out with Enzo, Lizzie’s sulky artist boyfriend. As Hawthorn and Enzo connect over Lizzie, Hawthorn is enlivened by her new adventures, but they come at the expense of a tragedy.
Hawthorn is one of the most relatable characters in recent young adult literature. Her unhappiness stems from her inability to connect to people her own age and her subsequent boredom. She lives mostly in her own head, choosing to find magic in movies, books and her imagination rather than the world around her.
This mystery is less about finding a missing girl as it is about finding happiness and purpose in a complex, often contradictory world.
Kimberly Giarratano is the author of Grunge Gods and Graveyards, a young adult paranormal mystery.