Mystery surrounds the town of Summertime, Indiana, where fifteen-year-old Tommy Walker and his little sister are sent to live with relatives they’ve never met. Tommy soon makes friends with Finn Wilds, a rebellious local who lives with his volatile and abusive stepfather, who also happens to be the town’s sheriff. Finn invites Tommy to late night meetings in the woods, where Tommy gets to know two girls. He forms a special and unique connection with both girls. The meetings become a place where the kids, who don’t fit in at school, or home can finally belong. As the group of friends begin to unravel clues to a cold case murder and kidnapping— they learn the truth is darker and closer than they ever imagined. Even if they live to tell, will anyone believe them?
RJ Garcia gives us a window into the teenage angst of not belonging layered by uncertainty of being removed from one's parent, trying to fit into a new school and falling in love. All of this in one character belies the complexity of the characters of this book. Garcia switches narrators between chapters with ease contrasting Tommy's and Finn's worlds. The author allows us to become more and more drawn into their lives while building the mystery of the deceptively quiet town.
The writing style of RJ Garcia is natural and totally credible as the voice of teenagers in crisis as well as moments of joy. I would highly recommend this book, not only to middle school students, but to anyone who has the fortune to have teenagers in their lives.
R J Garcia