by Jen Ferguson
read by Julie Lumsden, Aaliya Warbus, Kimberly Woods, and Shaun Taylor-Corbett
Heartdrum, 2023. 9 hours, 15 minutes.
Review written November 27, 2023, from a library eaudiobook.
I’ve just this past weekend finished reading for the 2024 William Morris Award for best young adult debut, so it’s fitting that I listened to the second book of an author whose debut was a finalist for last year’s William Morris Award, The Summer of Bitter and Sweet. That one was about Canadian indigenous teens working in an ice cream shop, and this one is about Canadian Indigenous teens working in a pizza shop, and both are completely beautiful.
In this book, we’re following the perspectives of three teens who all work at Pink Mountain Pizza, in a ski town. Each viewpoint character gets their own narrator. A girl named Berlin is central, and the other two, Cam and Jessie, both have a bit of a crush on her. Berlin has been feeling numb lately, and her best friend has suddenly completely ostracized her, not telling her what is wrong. On top of that, they learn that Joe, the Black owner of Pink Mountain Pizza, is selling the shop to a corporation. Berlin knows things won’t be the same. What she doesn’t know is that the head of the shady corporation buying Joe out is Jessie’s father.
And then one night, Berlin thinks she sees Kiki across the street from the shop. Kiki is a Black and Indigenous teen who went missing six months ago, and she’s Cam’s cousin. But was Berlin somehow dreaming? She couldn’t really have seen Kiki? When she tells Cam, some things start in motion that shake up their lives.
This book has themes woven through it of depression, friendship, discrimination, racism, activism, and especially the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women. The message is powerful, and it’s all wrapped up in a story of clever and creative teens you can’t help caring about. And amazing pizza recipes! This book won my heart. A fabulous follow-up to an amazing debut.
Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Teens/those_pink_mountain_nights.html
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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.
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