A tragic story of teen drinking and driving takes on a new twist when characters both real and supernatural challenge a young man’s psyche.
Tucker and three high school buddies are the essence of carefree, you-only-live-once teen existence: borrowed IDs and beer, tweeted updates and last-minute plans for a school bonfire, risky climbs and drinking parties in abandoned zinc mines. Their night of high school celebration changes when “silent Indian” Tucker’s sudden and unexpected decision to drink—and his subsequent inability to perform his assigned designated-driver role—precedes a horrific accident that kills his best friends. It’s shocking but predictable, except for the sudden and mysterious appearance of a three-headed dog that confronts Tucker. Mirage? Hallucination? Perhaps, but the pebble on his windowsill and the sudden appearance of best friend Trey’s lighter are unsettling tangibles. Stepgrandfather Bud provides post-accident guidance; a teacher shares Greek mythology, a boon and advice; tri-headed Cerberus reappears with a cute, blue-haired, female hitchhiker version of Charon. Together, they bring Tucker to a point of deep, personal reflection and critical decision. The dialogue and camaraderie ring true though sanitized, with nary a curse passing among the teens; adults are caring and supportive. Grove provides an exploration of adolescent guilt, responsibility and connection in this modern legend—or is it a chronicle of grief-inspired hallucinations? Readers are free to decide.
An engaging, perhaps paranormal, problem novel. (Fiction. 12 & up)