Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers trilogy) leaves serial killers behind and returns to Brookdale (The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl) for a heart-aching slice-of-life drama about the life-altering effects of a single moment.

As a four-year old, Sebastian Cody, now 14, shot and killed his infant sister Lola with their father's gun, "[a]nd the thing is this: I don't even remember doing it." His parents' divorce, the stares and pity from everyone in town, and the crushing weight of his guilt all trace back to the accident. During the summer that marks the 10-year anniversary of Lola's death, Sebastian plans to put everything right just as he once made everything wrong--with a gun. Then he meets Aneesa, a girl his age who wears hijab and whose captivating gaze turns him "to stone from shock. Metaphorically." Thrilled to befriend a pretty, intelligent girl who knows nothing about his past, Sebastian teams up with Aneesa to turn his pizza-making hobby into a YouTube show. As he lets joy and friendship into his life, though, Sebastian finds himself caught in a vicious circle of guilt he might not escape alive.

Lyga shifts among variations on guilt, healing, gun violence and Islamophobia with ease as Sebastian struggles to cope with his complicated life. Though YA stories often absent parents from the action, Sebastian's relationships with his estranged father and irreparably damaged mother grant an extra layer of reality. Painfully raw and accented with hope and anguish, Bang will connect solidly with older teens looking for a deep and affecting story. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services division manager, Dayton Metro Library

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