A small-town girl is forced to choose between doing the right thing or fitting in after a night of unforgettable violence.
Kayla adores her hometown of Winbrooke, Missouri. While her three best friends, Jen, Selena and Bean, all dream of moving away to attend college, she hopes never to leave. But everything changes the night of Jen’s party, when a boy is killed in an accident involving Kayla. After a summer spent with her aunt in Kansas City while she recovers, nothing can prepare Kayla for the way her once-beloved town has turned on her. The halls of the high school are filled with whispers, and even Jen and Selena greet her with hostility. But Kayla witnessed a rape at that party, and it led to her role in the accident—and some people know this. If she admits to any of it, she risks losing even more than she already has, forever. Lyrically written and ebbing with suspense, the story of Kayla’s hometown implicates everyone involved for their silence and for the grotesque hero worship that guarantees it. Kayla’s no hero, either, and her journey to finding her truth is as authentically difficult as they come. Halbrook interleaves the stories of before and after chapter by chapter, leading characters and readers to the devastating conclusion.
A devastating, important examination of the far-reaching, insidious nature of rape culture. (Fiction. 14-18)