One of the perks of reviewing books is discovering authors I’ve never read before.

Most of the time, although these authors may be quite good, their work doesn’t necessarily grab me or make me want to read everything they’ve ever written. Occasionally, I discover an author whose work does grab me and sends me in search whatever else they’ve written.

That is precisely what happened this month when I read Natalie D. Richards’ young adult novel “Six Months Later,” a book so engaging, I now have another five of her novels waiting for me on Kindle.

She is that satisfying of a storyteller.

Richards’ “Six Months Later” tells the story of Chloe, a rather average high school junior. She is a mediocre student with a crush on a boy who doesn’t notice her.

She has a best friend, and she is pretty spunky, jumping off bridges on a dare.

As the book opens, it is late May, and Chloe sits in English class agonizing as Maggie, her best friend since third grade, struggles to give a speech. Maggie has a stutter, and giving speeches makes that stutter worse.

Chloe watches Maggie get more and more flustered and wants to do something to end her friend’s misery, so she pulls the fire alarm. The school evacuates, Maggie is spared, and Chloe kisses her “…detention-free junior year goodbye.” (p. 3)

Later that day, in study hall, no matter how hard she tries to stay focused on preparing for the upcoming SAT exam, Chloe falls asleep, telling herself she’ll worry about her lack of discipline when study hall ends and the bell rings. But the bell never rings.

When Chloe wakes up, the room is silent. And dark. Outside snow is falling. Chloe discovers it’s no longer May but November.

A lot has changed since May. Chloe is now an honor student. She got a 1540 on the SAT; she is dating that boy who never noticed her; Maggie is no longer her friend; and Chloe remembers none of it.

Although her parents are pleased with most of these changes — they don’t know about Maggie — Chloe is not. She sets out to discover what happened to her.

“Six Months Later” is well-plotted and fast-paced; I finished the book in an afternoon. Richards is not simply a solid storyteller; she is also an adept prosaist, as when she describes Chloe’s teacher Mrs. Corwin: “…a woman who has professionally framed pictures of her beloved Siamese, Mr. Whiskers, on her desk…” (p. 1)

Initially, I was nervous reading “Six Months Later.” I worried Richards wouldn’t wrap up the story effectively, that I’d be let down. Because Richards writes young adult novels, I worried the resolution would be a bit child-like, maybe simplistic.

I needn’t have worried. The ending was just as satisfying as the beginning, which is why I have those five Richards novels waiting for me on Kindle.

(Maureen Cooke has been writing, editing and teaching others to write for the past 30 years. Currently, she’s working on a mystery novel and a memoir. She’s a member of the Corrales Writers’ Group.)