For years, 17-year-old Darcy, who seems to be white, has hidden her single mother’s shopping and hoarding addictions from everyone except her Cuban/Mexican best friend, Marisol, and Marisol’s brother, who does repairs in their chaotic San Diego apartment. Bent on keeping others out, Darcy has turned inward, burying herself in books, but the new apartment manager’s plans for interior renovations forces her back to reality. Worried that she and her mother will have to move if the manager sees the state of their unit, Darcy must face the harsh truths about her mother’s disorder, even as she experiences her first romantic feelings for a boy she meets at her local bookstore job. Bighearted Asher is open about the physical and emotional challenges he faces after a car accident, and Darcy seeks the courage to be as honest about her life. In this complex romance, debut author Namey paints a painfully realistic portrait of a teen playing an adult role in a dysfunctional family. Darcy’s emergence from her protective shell of fictional characters and worlds creates an emotional journey. Featuring a strong supporting cast—including Darcy’s boss, the owner of a wig shop—this compassionate, insightful novel will be relevant to anyone who has felt burdened by a secret. Ages 13–up. Agent: Natascha Morris, BookEnds Literary. (Oct.)
Gr 9 Up—Darcy just has to hold on until her 18th birthday, when the state will no longer have the power to remove her from her home. Suffocated by her mother's hoarding and confronted by the possibility of others finding out, all Darcy can do is burrow into her books. Books, after all, are safe. Until Asher, who is recovering from a life-altering accident, enters the picture. Now, Darcy must decide whether to keep hiding between the pages of her book or take the risk of nonfiction by living life. This book is, first and foremost, a gentle love letter to books and book lovers. Through her story, Darcy articulates the importance and transcendence of words with which many readers will identify. With a number of strong themes, including the humanity and imperfection of parents, the trauma of having to grow up too fast, and what real love is, the storytelling is elevated by its thoughtful prose. Yet readers will be pleased to find a lack of melodrama, which is instead balanced and measured in ways that give the novel its intuitive sense of reality. Although the prose gives the book a more adult feel, Namey uses references and dialogue to keep Darcy's world otherwise relevant and contemporary. Readers will also enjoy Darcy's cast of family, friends, and classmates as people they recognize from their own lives. VERDICT For fans of Katie Cotugno, John Green, and Melina Marchetta, this will be a reader favorite.—Abby Hargreaves, District of Columbia Public Library
A sweet romance from a debut author to watch.
Darcy Jane Wells works at a bookstore and likes to memorize lines from her favorite classics. Her friends are her beloved characters and her best friend, Mexican/Cuban American fashionista Marisol, who is the only one who knows Darcy's secret—her mother is a hoarder. Brokenhearted and traumatized by the abandonment of Darcy's father, her mother is the image of perfection in public, but their small San Diego apartment is filled to the brim with her compulsive purchases. Darcy's only refuge is her bookshelf-covered room. With the help of Marisol, a used copy of Peter Pan, and an older boy struggling with his own trauma and illness, the linguistic savant begins to muddle through her senior year. Peppered with literary quotes and chapter headings, this novel will delight teen lit fans (mentions of YA faves abound). Taylor Namey's portrayal of mental illness is thoughtful and well executed, and the characterizations of even background characters are fully developed. The friendship between Darcy and Marisol is well balanced and charming, and the happy ending is swoony—but not overly so. The author sometimes relies too much on tropes (super self-aware teens, a mean-girl ex, a grumpy bookstore owner, and a boisterous Latinx family), but this doesn't detract from the feel-good narrative. Darcy and most characters appear to be white.
A lovely tale for bookish readers that will give them all the feels. (Realistic fiction. 12-adult)
"Watch out or you'll lose your heart in this library! Laugh and cry and look up words of the day with your new favorite heroine, Darcy, as she finds first love. This story will give you All the Feels!" -Kelly deVos, author of Fat Girl on a Plane
"A poignant tale about a young woman with a book-shaped-heart who finds the courage to write her own story." -Nancy Richardson Fischer, author of The Speed of Falling Objects
"The Library of Lost Things is a compelling family drama with a literary through line that will delight bibliophiles-a classic lit quote begins every chapter, and Darcy works in a bookstore. Though the romance is appropriately sweet, it's Darcy's family dynamics-the war waging within her between love and resentment, the desperation to cling to loyalty while running toward independence-that sets the book apart. Book lovers will find Namey's story especially compelling because, in Darcy, they'll find a kindred spirit." –Booklist