A year ago, Brooke Covington lost everything when her beloved older brother, Jason, confessed to the murder of his best friend, Calvin. Brooke and her family became social pariahs, broken and unable to console one another. Brooke’s only solace remains the ice-skating rink, where she works but no longer lets herself dream about a future skating professionally.
When Brooke encounters Calvin’s younger brother, Heath, on the side of the road and offers him a ride, everything changes. She needs someone to talk to…and so does Heath. No one else understands what it’s like. Her brother, alive but gone; his brother, dead but everywhere. Soon, they’re meeting in secret, despite knowing that both families would be horrified if they found out. In the place of his anger and her guilt, something frighteningly tender begins to develop, drawing them ever closer together.
But when a new secret comes out about the murder, Brooke has to choose whose pain she’s willing to live with—her family’s or Heath’s. Because she can’t heal one without hurting the other.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Mild sexual themes, Violence
Booklist (November 15, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 6))
Grades 9-12. True to form, Johnson (The First to Know, 2017) brings to life a family in distress along with a tantalizing mystery in her latest novel. Brooke Covington is trying to be the glue her family needs her to be in the wake of disaster. With her older brother, Jason, in jail for murdering his best friend and her parents and younger sister each isolating themselves in their own way, Brooke is prepared to give up her dream of ice-skating professionally to keep everyone from spiraling apart. But a burgeoning relationship with Jason’s late best friend’s younger brother makes things even more complicated. Captivating and emotional, this story creates a beautiful tapestry of secrets and lies and explores how a family goes on when the unthinkable is a coldhearted reality. Brooke’s story is a real page-turner, with fully fleshed-out characters and naturally flowing dialogue. Johnson’s latest is a great choice for fans of character-driven stories and complex family dynamics, with a mystery that readers will try to uncover right alongside the protagonist.
Kirkus Reviews (November 1, 2018)
The one person who completely understands what Brooke is going through is the one person she’s not supposed to talk to. After her brother, Jason, is convicted of murdering his best friend, Cal, life has stopped for Brooke and her family. Ostracized throughout their small Texas town, the only person she socializes with is newcomer Maggie, a half-Korean, half-white beauty vlogging teen. But Brooke doesn’t tell Maggie the cause of her mother’s hypervigilance, her father’s retreat into work, or her sister’s reticence. Brooke too, has let Jason’s conviction imprison her, derailing her dream of ice skating professionally. When she sees Heath, Cal’s younger brother, stranded on the side of the road, she gives him a ride into town and chances a connection with someone she knows is just as, if not more, broken. Through a mix of emotions, Brooke and Heath continue to meet in secret and slowly develop a friendship that threatens to become more even though they both know it cannot be. And when Brooke learns that there may be more to Cal’s murder than they all know, she can’t let this knowledge go even though it has the potential to cause even more pain to their families and shatter Brooke and Heath’s fragile understanding. Johnson (The First to Know, 2017, etc.) spins a tale of broken people and stirring complexity. With the exception of Maggie, characters are white. Emotional page-turner. (Fiction. 12-18)
About the Author
Abigail was born in Pennsylvania. When she was twelve, her family traded in snow storms for year round summers, and moved to Arizona. Abigail chronicled the entire cross-country road trip (in a purple spiral bound notebook that she still has) and has been writing ever since. She became a tetraplegic after breaking her neck in a car accident when she was seventeen, but hasn’t let that stop her from bodysurfing in Mexico, writing and directing a high school production of Cinderella, and becoming a published author.
Her website is abigailjohnsonbooks.com
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