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SMOKE by Darcy Woods

SMOKE

by Darcy Woods

Pub Date: June 15th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-30590-4
Publisher: Crown

A teen in a small Michigan town hatches a secret plot to grow and sell marijuana in order to pay off her family’s debts.

Straight-laced, earnest Honor Augustine lives with her beloved dad, who struggles with PTSD following his military service in Iraq, and her goofy but supportive brother, Knox. She loves the greenhouse business that her grandparents owned and that is now managed by her aunt—so when she discovers that they are in danger of losing it due to financial losses, she desperately searches for a way to help. This results in her somewhat implausible decision to start a weed-growing operation, clandestinely situated in the greenhouse basement. In a character-driven, first-person narrative that is at turns anguished and funny, Honor stumbles through the consequences of this scenario, with various subplots that include a romance with a guy she’s not sure she can trust; interpersonal conflict with her best friend, Zareen Kapoor, a D.C. transplant; the stress of a shadowy figure who seems to be stalking them; and the challenge of her dad’s untreated mental health condition. With all of these threads woven throughout, the novel can feel a little unfocused at times, but this is largely an original, engaging novel that fans of contemporary teen fiction will enjoy. All of the main characters are White; Zareen’s name cues her as South Asian.

A dramatic story layered with relationship dynamics and flares of humor.

(Fiction. 14-18)