Getting used to her new name, Becca, is the least of her problems when she and her mother escape from her stepfather and seek new identities. Her mother sees that she boards the ferry to Whidbey Island where she has arranged for her longtime friend to keep Becca until she can return to get her daughter. No one greets Becca when the ferry arrives so Becca makes her way to the address and learns the friend has just died. Becca has nowhere to go. Her calls from her emergency cell phone do not go through to her mother. She finds locals who help her without asking questions and does her best to blend in. With new friend, Seth, a high school drop-out, she goes to a popular forest trail to walk his dog. In a secluded area, she discovers popular classmate, Derric, severely injured at the bottom of a ravine. When she uses her cell phone to dial 911, she panics when the operator asks for her name and address and hides the phone along the trail. Derric is left in a coma while we are left wondering who pushed him into the ravine.
Becca can hear snippets of people’s thoughts and learns that the islanders have many secrets and struggles. This insight into the other characters adds a third dimension to the book. While Becca is the central character, the supporting cast is equally strong. Every person has a story to tell, usually a story of loss. Everyone needs a strong friend like Seth who is big-hearted and does the right thing despite what people may think of him. He helps Becca over and over again because he is genuinely kind. This involved mystery is a wonderful read. For a young adult book, I thought it was rather long so surely it must be a standalone book. But the cliffhanger ending might signal more. I am eager to go back to Whidbey Island and see how it all turns out. I hope this popular author of adult novels comes back time and again to the young adult market. Solid mystery with engaging characters.
eGalley review Publication date 9.4.12