Our Little World


“A missing child brings together parents and neighbors and search parties and hot casseroles. It’s an ongoing story, with characters and plots and subplots, grief and faith in equal proportions.” ~ Karen Winn, Our Little World.

I was glued to the pages of the wonderful coming-of-age book set in the mid-80s. I remember being in seventh grade hanging out at the beach with my friends a decade earlier (even more likely at the Brookview Golf Course pool) and it was a time of fun and innocence. Not so much for Bee and Max.

July 1985. It’s a normal, sweltering New Jersey summer for soon-to-be seventh grader Bee Kocsis when her friend Max Baker’s four-year-old sister, Sally, goes missing at Deer Chase Lake. Bee looks on helplessly as people search everywhere for the little girl.

Life in the community becomes tense as parents become protective and children are scared. Things are even more strained at home, most of all with her 11-year-old sister, Audrina, who dazzles wherever she goes.

Remember what middle school was like? I don’t know anyone who liked it. They should pay teachers double to deal with all the hormones. Like I did, Bee struggles with self-esteem issues, anxiety, and her feelings for Max (well, not the Max part). When a shameful secret surfaces, her world is upended again.

Author Karen Winn does a masterful job capturing teenage angst and the complicated relationship between sisters. Told in first-person, it is a haunting work of psychological fiction. Perfect for fans of Celeste Ng and Kristen Bird. 4 stars.

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book. The opinions are my own.

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