Another First Chance

A gay teenager mourning his best friend joins a cryptic scientific study in this intense, speculative YA novel.

It has been one year since 18-year-old, blond and blue-eyed River's best friend, Dylan, died in a car crash after driving and texting. Every day River drives by a billboard plastered with Dylan's face and "the worst line in advertising history... DON'T DREXT LIKE DYLAN DID." River is heartbroken and angry that his best friend has gone from "Dylan the Person to Dylan the Tragedy." On the eve of Dylan's "deathiversary," River gives the billboard an "upgrade" by spray painting a giant mustache on Dylan's photo. But he is caught in the act and blackmailed into joining the Affinity Trials, a scientific study researching students who are "struggling socially." Even worse, Mavis--Dylan's former girlfriend, who has given River "the silent treatment" for a year--is also participating in the trials. The teens are forced to deal with their shared struggle when they realize that Affinity is lying about the trial's true purpose; if they want to uncover the truth, they will have to work with both each other and their own grief.

Author Robbie Couch (If I See You Again Tomorrow) combines an intriguing mystery with a nuanced portrayal of friendship and sorrow. Chapters alternate times and narrators, giving Dylan's perspective on the day of his death and River's present-day perspective. The changing points of view build suspense while fleshing out the boys' relationship. Although River is often chastened by adults for his "inappropriate reactions" to Dylan's death, Another First Chance suggests that there is no correct way to grieve. --Alanna Felton, freelance reviewer

Powered by: Xtenit