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Big Hero 6: The Series, Volume 1 by Hong Gyun An
Checked Out for Murder by Allison Brook
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Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
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Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
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When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day and Laural Merlington (Narrator)

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Early Departures: 10/31/21

Early Departures

Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds starts with an argument between two former best friends. Jamal blames Q. for the deaths of his parents. How exactly is slowly and painfully outlined through disjointed flashbacks.

After some soul searching, Jamal decides it might be time to reconcile with Q. Unfortunately that chance is ruined by another horrible accident. Q. is dead but representatives of a mysterious organization is offering his mother the chance to say good bye properly. They can revive him but the effect will only last at most a month.

Having so thoroughly enjoyed Opposite of Always for how he played with various time travel tropes, I came into this novel with similar expectations. I thought it might also sit on the Road Narrative Spectrum at maybe 99CC33 (scarecrow/minotaur traveling to or through uhoria via the Blue Highway) but it doesn't. Instead, the reanimation process is a means to an end, a plot device to force a sped up reconciliation to force Jamal to learn something.

Instead the plot unfolds in a predictable fashion. If you've read Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1959), you've essentially read Early Departures. I had hoped Q. would buck the obvious plot and get a happy ending. He doesn't. His death times two is just there to teach Jamal a lesson about life.

Three stars

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