A girl struggles to understand her boyfriend’s suicide—or to discover if it really was a suicide.
For years, Hailey’s life has revolved around the charismatic stepbrothers across the street. Popular, handsome Kane’s her childhood best friend—they lost their virginity together as fumbling, awkward 15-year-olds. Then there’s his equally charismatic stepbrother—brilliant, talented, devout Declan—a gorgeous multiracial boy (Hailey fetishizes his ethnically ambiguous features). Told from Hailey’s point of view, the story jumps back and forth between the present—a year after Declan’s death—and flashbacks to her intense, romantic relationship with Declan and the lead-up to his death. Hailey, whose life has fallen to pieces since that night (after a lengthy in-patient stay, she’s self-harming and drinking), suffers from what her therapist calls selective retention, her brain refusing to process painful memories as suicide runs so counter to the Declan she knew. Then Declan’s mother finds a strange photograph and threatening message among his things. Soon, Hailey’s seeing hints of something suspicious everywhere she turns. Desperate, Hailey pushes hard, slowly unraveling relationships and secrets in her own memories. The vividly-drawn characters are consumed by the drama of their powerful feelings. The truth she finally finds is downright chilling. Most characters default to white.
A twisted, engrossing tale of relationships intermingling to disaster. (Thriller/mystery. 15-18)