Endearing and engaging, Getting to Alpenglow is a fluently written account of a modern, fatherless teenager both before and after the Covid-19 pandemic. Each chapter takes its name from ReRe’s color-coordinated mood—the organizing principle of the book—and these especially ring when they correlate to sweetness, such as in “Cotton Candy Pink,” a chapter on ReRe’s very young (but age-appropriate) romance.
No quotidian teenage subject is left undiscussed, from church to high school to small town gossip to the onslaught of quarantine. A tone that is loose, laid back and associative often evokes the feel of a diary entry, with the narrator making the occasional precious, revealing mistake or typo, as when she appropriates adult phrases, such as calling a stick in the mud “stuck in the mud.” ReRe’s breathless teenage voice is persuasive, and is engaging and relatable enough to appeal to anyone with youth in their life (or veins.) Eventually, Getting to Alpenglow reveals a focus on mental illness and its impact on families, material handled with such sensitivity that readers of serious young adult fiction will acclaim the book for its timeliness and relevance.
Takeaway: This relatable YA novel boasts a compelling teen voice as its narrator faces love, mental health issues, and the start of the pandemic.
Great for fans of: Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Helena Fox’s How it Feels to float.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B+