ZEN & XANDER UNDONE
Brilliant! The author’s skill shines in her depiction of Zen’s struggle to curb Xander’s new wild life. Anyone who has a sister close in age will recognize the way that these two struggle with loyalty and jealousy – especially when it comes to friends and boys — all while they remain partners in crime. Ryan has also done a phenomenal job bringing the supporting characters to life and readers will yearn to spend more time with Zen and Xander and co.
After their mother’s death, sisters Zen and Xander take very different paths in their grief. Xander starts partying, losing herself in alcohol and boys, while younger sister Zen throws herself into her martial arts training. It quickly becomes clear that their depressed father is in no state to put a stop to Xander’s antics. But after Zen tries to step in, and turns her martial arts skills on one of Xander’s “dates”, it is clear that Zen also doesn’t have it all together. Will unraveling a mystery about their mother be able to help these sisters heal? (Houghton Mifflin, May, 224 pp., HC, ISBN: 9780547062488, 12 & up, $16.00)