A multiethnic group of teenagers goes camping on a school trip, but not all of them make it home alive.
Ben Gibson, a white teenager, is writing his story from jail. Straight off the bat, he throws readers a curveball with two pieces of crucial information: he loved brown-skinned Rose, his French-Peruvian girlfriend of two years, and he killed her. What follows next is a measured and uncensored narrative leading up to that exact moment. With a disabled mother to care for, Ben doesn’t have much hope for the future. The only spot of color in his life is Rose, but lately, their connection has been rocky. When he is asked to help lead a camping trip to the mountains for his school’s orienteering club, he embraces the challenge. With Rose and six other classmates in tow, the adventure begins—and quickly falls apart. Bad decisions, questionable motives, and possible fugitives hiding out in the mountain trap the teens in a train wreck readers can’t look away from. Hindsight is 20/20 as Ben explores his actions, and the more he reveals, the harder it is to take sides. Taut plotting combines with prose that’s by turns delicately plush and trenchantly foulmouthed for a riveting experience.
Full of secrets and plot twists, Kuehn’s latest is a satisfying, sophisticated study in complicated relationships. (Thriller. 14-18)