By Sara Beitia, Flux, $9.95, 301 pages
When eighteen year-old Lily Odilon disappears, her boyfriend Albert’s life falls apart. He becomes the main suspect in the police investigation and is increasingly harassed at school and having conflict with his parents over his loyalty to his missing girlfriend. Determined to find out what happened and certain that Lily is still alive, Albert, along with Lily’s sister Olivia, starts searching for answers and, hopefully, for Lily herself.
Sara Beitia gives a solid debut in The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon. Using the character of Albert as the focal point, she is able to tap into the confusion, fear, anxiety and anger that occur in times of grief and loss. She also nicely builds the mystery around Lily’s disappearance and effectively shows the reasons behind it. Her use of flashbacks mixed with present time is a tool that doesn’t work effectively in this book as it takes the reader out of the moment and disrupts the pace of the story. This book is better suited for older teens as there are themes of abuse that are touched on in the novel that may be inappropriate for younger readers.
Reviewed by Barbara Cothern