Nearly 100 years after accidentally drinking from the Fountain of Youth, perpetually 17-year-old Emma investigates a series of murders.
Through flashbacks, readers learn how inadvertently drinking from the Fountain of Youth in 1916 eventually led to the tragic murders of Emma’s and Charlie’s families, both white, at the hands of the congregation of the Church of Light. While the two flee for their lives, Charlie decides separation is the safer choice and deliberately breaks Emma’s heart to convince her to leave him. Both soon regret the decision, but without a plan or modern modes of communication, they are unable to reunite. Flash-forward to present-day Dallas, where Emma, still searching for Charlie, finds herself also investigating a string of murdered girls who she believes are also victims of the Church of Light. After a neighboring girl is kidnapped, Emma hopes to rescue her by using herself as bait—a decision that ultimately leads to revelations about the day when she and Charlie gained their eternal youth. Interspersed throughout Emma’s mystery story are chapters dedicated to recounting how Charlie has spent his life; these effectively capture the loneliness, isolation, and even regret that accompanies the secrecy required by eternal youth. The novel’s resolution is awfully quick, but the storylines’ convergence is largely satisfying.
A modern Tuck Everlasting with a thriller twist: fun, in spite of its improbabilities. (Paranormal mystery. 12-16)