Avery Alves knew she was going to be on her mother’s bad side. Moving back home to her dilapidated New England mill town just one month into her freshman year of college wasn’t part of the plan. But after her grandmother dies, Avery is left with more problems than even she anticipated. There’s the house she inherits next to the old vandalized factories, and someone keeps breaking the kitchen window with bottles of cheap alcohol. And Walter, her grandmother’s 200-lb. Saint Bernard with separation anxiety and a stuffed rabbit he drags everywhere, is the only one who understands the significance of their loss. Then there’s her friend Steven, who she works with at What a Party!, the local party supply store. A management position and new apartment, complete with a live-in girlfriend, suggest a lot has changed since she last saw him. Dirty looks from his girlfriend, though, and his insistence that Avery “wasn’t supposed to come back,” make her wonder if not everything is different after all.
The longer Avery is home, the more she starts to reconsider her decision to leave in the first place. Is she really as “stuck” as her mother insists she will be if she stays here? After a mishap at What a Party! with Old Red, the city’s beloved homeless man and one of her dearest friends, threatens to shut down the store, a decision needs to be made, and fast. But her mother has spent Avery’s whole life trying to convince her that college and a new city are the only ways to find happiness, and she’ll do anything she can to make sure she leaves. And it’s Walter who’s caught in the middle of her plans.
What Will Happen to Walter? was written as part of Susan Cardoza’s B.F.A. thesis at Emerson College. This young adult/coming of age novel is available in paperback and ebook formats.