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In the hard-up town of Failin, OR, Lewis lives and works with his mother running estate sales, and chafes at her uptightness. At one sale, he meets Anne, who has two secrets: she shoplifts, and her mother, an assisted-living nurse, is a hoarder. This fine book is the story of Lewis and Anne's romance, but it's also a tale about a community's history, both ancient and recent, that describes how some of the unhappy adults in the duo's lives (including a cranky antiques dealer and an unemployed machinist) got that way and what some of them do about it. Writer Ryan deftly brings together the text's many strands and shows a fine ear for dialog; artist McNeil's accomplished, naturalistic cartooning fits the narrative well. Ryan also employs an effective storytelling tactic much neglected among contemporary comics scripters: narration, which she uses primarily to illuminate the characters' inner states, engendering reader sympathy for even the most difficult of them and lending the book an uncommon and welcome thoughtfulness. VERDICT By turns sweet and sad, tragic and hopeful, this small-town drama will both break hearts and win them.—S.R.