Those Pink Mountain Nights

HarperCollins/Heartdrum. Sept. 2023. 352p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063086210.
Gr 9 Up–Berlin is the uptight perfectionist, Cam the constantly laughing dropout, and Jessie the rebellious daughter of an ultrarich and ultraconservative family. The three work at Pink Mountain Pizza in a small Canadian town. Cam and Berlin’s families are close, and they bonded in grief over the disappearance of Kiki, Cam’s Cree and Black cousin several months earlier. One night, Berlin thinks she sees Kiki in town. This reignites her and Cam’s search for what happened to Kiki and asking more questions among their friends. Their world is further upended when Joe, the owner of Pink Mountain Pizza, decides to sell his shop. Jessie carries the secret her father is the buyer of the pizzeria to force her to stop working there. Backed by her coworkers, Berlin sets up a social media campaign to save the pizzeria, but her plans raise further issues. Their alternating viewpoints provide insight into the challenges each character faces in their lives, moving them beyond caricatures and into fully developed, complex characters who are leaning into adulthood and making mistakes. Their actions galvanize their town and expose the racist and toxic underbelly of the most influential people there. Some characters are nonbinary and exploring their sexuality. Cam’s little sister Sami has Down syndrome and he believes in her ability to be more than people think.
VERDICT A YA read-alike of Rebecca Makkai’s I Have Some Questions for You, this story touches on many contemporary issues as part of their everyday lives and will have broad appeal. A first purchase.

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