Three contemporary teens accidentally meet at Yellow Lake in rural Wisconsin, where they share three life-changing days after witnessing a crime.
To escape her mother’s “latest crappy boyfriend,” 14-year-old Etta and her mom move to a trailer park near Yellow Lake. For Etta, the “good, safe feeling” lasts until her mom’s new boyfriend, Kyle, starts hanging around while her mom’s at work. Fifteen-year-old Peter lives in England. Shattered by his mother’s recent death, Peter surreptitiously borrows his father’s credit card and travels alone to Yellow Lake to bury a lock of her hair on the shore by the family cabin. Finally, leaving his single mother in Minneapolis because she joked about his “Indian phase,” 16-year-old Jonah randomly trespasses on land by Peter’s cabin, where he builds a wigwam and initiates a quest for his Ojibwe heritage. Subsequent events force the three to hide in the cabin, which they discover is the site of Kyle’s illegal methamphetamine operation. Told from their alternating and very diverse perspectives, the plot spins slowly, building into a suspenseful, high-action crescendo as the initially wary teens learn they can count on and even care about one another. Realistic characters, palpable fear, budding first love, and a touch of Native American ethos add to this well-crafted debut.
Sensitive coming-of-age thriller. (Thriller. 12-16)