Three teens in small-town Ohio struggle with sexual violence, together and individually, in a tragic thriller.
Alex, Jack, and Peekay are white high school seniors looking ahead to the next phases of their lives. Alex’s older sister, Anna, was raped and murdered their freshman year, and she’s been quietly seething ever since. In fact, she stalked and killed her sister’s murderer so skillfully that she has evaded any legal repercussions, and her vengeful exploit has become legend in their close-knit, economically blighted town. Relationships within the group shift: preacher’s kid Peekay (given name: Claire) befriends Alex when their volunteer shifts at the local animal shelter overlap; Peekay’s boyfriend, Adam, cheats on her with classically gorgeous cheerleader Branley; swaggering Jack breaks off his friends-with-benefits arrangement with Branley to pursue Alex. This gives readers a close look at how the emotional claustrophobia of their town affects everyone. When you party in the same crumbling, abandoned church that your parents used for their illicit beer-soaked parties, how do you confide in them or the local sympathetic police officer about the rape your friend barely saved you from? All three teens are haunted by the memory of Anna’s murder, and Alex’s inclination to both considering and exacting revenge with cruel efficiency leads them all inexorably to an explosive, terrible finale.
An unflinching look at rape culture and its repercussions. (Thriller. 15-18)