Seven cousins gather to prepare a family property for sale and to solve the mystery that alienated their five fathers.
The death of an uncle reunites the cousins, who haven’t seen each other in a decade due to an inexplicable family feud. Heading to the summer property in Ontario that will now be sold, the teens intend to support their cousin Forrester and solve the added mystery of the identity of a girl in a wheelchair and whether she factored into the brothers’ estrangement. Alternating chapters in the first-person voices of the cousins unfortunately reveal each of them to be self-centered people readers will struggle to like, much less care about. Additionally, following much buildup, the cause of the brotherly rift is not the surprising, dramatic event readers will have hoped for. Joyce (Shade, 2018, etc.) came up with a great concept, but the result is over 200 pages of unmet potential. There is authenticity in the voices of the teenagers, but none of the characters is particularly endearing, and the not-so-subtle meanness of the girls is disappointing. Hailey and her mother are Cree; the remaining characters are white. The sensitive portrayals of Hailey and the one cousin who is gay are blotted out by too many chapters that have little reason to exist.
A good beginning and an OK ending don’t make up for an otherwise uneventful story. (Fiction. 14-adult)