ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Esther's family has been cursed, ever since her grandfather met Death's apprentice in Vietnam, and actually escaped the fate that was meant to be his. Each member has a great fear, and it will be the thing that kills them - her father is agoraphobic, her mother an addicted gambler who fears bad luck, and her twin brother can't abide the dark. When Esther is conned by Jonah, a former friend, and he makes off with her list of things she could potentially be killed by, it starts a strange and beautiful friendship. Jonah is determined to help Esther surmount her fears, and challenges her to confront them - filming them as they go through the list. Unbeknownst to her, she is becoming a social media star… A likable and imaginative young adult novel, with interesting characters (including Death, who has a world-weary line of snappy but almost-compassionate rejoinders) and the stirrings of first love. Lindy Jones
Ever since Esther Solar's grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther's father is agoraphobic and hasn't left the basement in six years, her twin brother can't be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.
The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.
Esther doesn't know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.
Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she'd been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them- in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn't counted on - love.