With his grandmother dead, 17-year-old Billy “Brother” Grace has nothing...except a family mystery.
Mem, Brother’s headstrong grandmother, raised him alone. When she dies of breast cancer, he finds a newspaper with a circled photo that looks exactly like him. It’s the son of powerful North Carolina senator Gideon Grayson—could he have a twin he doesn’t know about? Thanks to arrangements made by Mem’s friends, Brother can quit his job at the nursing home and set off in search of family. Unfortunately, his reckless friend Cole has dropped off his 5-year-old little brother, Jack, without knowing that Mem has died. Brother packs up Trooper, his dog, and Jack and heads for Eden, island sanctuary of the Graysons. What Brother finds in this unfamiliar world of privilege is the secret of his ancestry...and of Mem’s life. Carmichael’s sophomore effort lacks the deft, light touch of her debut, Wild Things (2009). The characters are unbelievably good, from perfect Brother to stranger-becomes-girlfriend Kit to Trooper, the psychic dog; the turns of plot, especially at the outset, are unrealistic. Brother’s quest proceeds all too easily, with stranger after stranger going out of their way for him, making his display of control at the close unsatisfying. Though the tale ends with more realism, readers will have to have forgiven a lot of contrivance to get there.
A soppy, at times sanctimonious melodrama that still entertains. (Fiction. 12 & up)