When Lennon bumps into the elusive Judah Mitchell at the cemetery, she cannot begin to guess what lies she will uncover. Lennon must dive into the mysteries surrounding this boy to save him…and, as it turns out, to save herself.
Lennon is a late-teens character with a great mix of virtues and flaws. She is strong and clear-headed, not cowed by her peers, and possessed a large propensity toward caring for others. Though all of these attributes are unusual for a character of this age, we witness the trials Lennon has faced, and how they have helped to craft her personality.
Grams offers comic relief with her chronic smoking, and small nursing home rebellions. This character is a wise presence in the book, and ties in nicely to the ending.
The male protagonist, Judah, is not at all what he seems. The reader is kept on their toes at all times regarding his intentions, his past, and his future. The Author keeps us on edge as the truth of Judah unravels and we alternatively dislike and love him, all the while carrying a strong empathy for every decision and action he has made.
The amazing thing about this novel, is that there is not a blatant antagonist. Not really. We dislike each of the characters at some point of the story, and love them the next. But though able to lay blame at several doorsteps, too much of each character’s history is shown to truly despise them. Instead, their actions leave us heartbroken and haunted, wondering whether, if one aspect of their life had changed, the outcome could have been different.
Set in a small, religious town. Everyone knows everyone’s business, and people are both quick to welcome you, and quick to turn on you, setting up a great tension. The paranormal aspects of this novel that unfold will send shivers down your spine, and possibly deprive you of a few nights sleep.
This book is devourable. Chapter point of views switch between four characters, flicking between present, future, and the past tense in such a way that we are left in no doubt of the Author’s expertise. We receive information to the buried truth like puzzle pieces, slowly seeing the bigger picture. Abby Wilder's bravery in writing such a story speaks tellingly of her confidence in the craft and is to be commended.
The story can be read as a stand-alone, though the reader can see where a sequel would arise from. There are several hooks which build in 'eyes glued to page' fashion, until only a horrified wonderment is left in their wake. Once the cover is closed, the reader can expect to reflect back on the story in heartache, shock, and haunted yearning.
Recommended for 15 years and above.
A beautiful, haunting, and confronting tale of truth and sacrifice.
“His eyes stayed on me as water filled the car. And although he never voiced it, he knew. He knew this was the end. He knew there was no other choice. And he didn’t fight.”