You Must Not Miss
Katrina Leno’s You Must Not Miss is a YA thriller with teeth.
Sixteen-year-old Magpie Lewis has a yellow notebook. As her home life falls to pieces around her, she starts writing fiction about a new and perfect world she calls Near, one where her father hasn’t cheated on her mother and then left, where her mother hasn’t spiraled into alcoholism, where her sister still cares for her and where Magpie’s best friend hasn’t made her into a pariah at school.
When Magpie finds a doorway into Near, it isn’t long before she realizes that the world she’s created is the perfect location to test how much power she holds and exact some revenge.
Leno (Summer of Salt) spares her main character very little. Assailed from all sides, Magpie has deadened herself against pain. Even her burgeoning friendships with the kids at the cafeteria’s reject table can’t keep her from the addictive pull she feels from Near, the alternate reality that erases all the real world’s harm. When Magpie starts to lure people from the real world into Near, the horrors unfold quickly, but readers can never be sure what’s real and what Magpie has imagined. That off-kilter feeling runs throughout the book.
Book clubs will have a great time arguing different theories of what really happens in Leno’s thriller, which has a resolution that raises at least as many questions as it answers and a protagonist who can be hard to love at times. The murkiness of Magpie’s everyday reality and the too-bright sparkle of her fantasy world—where the power of imagination can be as dangerous as a drug—combine to great effect.
You Must Not Miss is a gritty, unsettling modern-day fairy tale.