Simon & Schuster
Jo Hadley has a comfortable, if vaguely dissatisfied life. She lives with her vaguely dissatisfied parents in Huntington Acres, on the border of the Huntington Country Club. They are members, have been since they arrived. They could, quite easily, "have gotten along just fine..."
Jo has a reputation for intoxicants (as do her parents.) She is blessed with two very close friends, and one night an ill-advised adventure turns all the above into the past tense.
"Why would I worry?" Mother said brightly.
Jo resurfaces at The Hawthorne School, on a scholarship, boarding. She doesn't really fit, begins to wonder if she'll ever fit anywhere again.
Then she comes under the tutelage of Master Aikens, who brings some meaning to her educational life. Master Aikens is 34. Jo Hadley is 15. World-wise as she seems, Jo is still innocent. For all her innocence she has principles. Collision is inevitable.
What starts as a confessional novel by a precociously cynical teen becomes a taut and compelling litany of thwarted promise and betrayal. All indignities are absorbed. That this absorption is to be expected comes as a jarring and uncomfortable truth.
His Favorites is a beautiful and wise novel. It is elegant and understated, and assembled with admirable craft. You'll love and admire Jo Hadley, and if you don't already know Kate Walbert you'll be in for an even bigger treat.
Ben reads almost anything, for the most part with an eye for the unusual, the overlooked and the underappreciated. He regularly makes presentations of current noteworthy titles to interested parties, both in the store and out.