A stunning novel that examines the price of loyalty, the burden of regret, the meaning of salvation, and the sacrifices we make for those we love, told in the voices of two unforgettable women linked by a decades-old family mystery at a picturesque lake house. In 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family's summer house on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys the family - her father takes his own life, and her mother and two older sisters spend the rest of their lives at the lake house, keeping a decades-long vigil for the lost child. Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before her death, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person who might care: her grandniece, Justine. For Justine, the lake house offers freedom and stability - a way to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the home she never had. But the long Minnesota winter is just beginning. The house is cold and dilapidated. The dark, silent lake is isolated and eerie. Her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more about the summer of 1935 than he's telling. Soon Justine's troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily's disappearance, her absent mother reappears, and the man she left launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house haunted by the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.
A body burns in the desert... Does the boy who found it know more than it seems? Sal Prentiss, orphaned and burdened with a terrible secret, just wants a place to belong. Sal lives with his uncles on a desolate ranch in the hills, and finds himself at the centre of a brutal murder mystery when he discovers the body of his maths teacher, charred almost beyond recognition, half a mile from his uncles' compound. In the seven months he worked at Lovelock's middle school, the quiet and seemingly unremarkable Adam Merkel had formed a bond with Sal and was one of the few people to look out for the boy. Nora Wheaton, the school's social studies teacher, sensed a kindred spirit in Adam - another soul bound to Lovelock by guilt and duty. After his death, she delves into his past for clues to who killed him. For Sal's grief seems shaded with fear, and Nora suspects he knows more than he's telling about his teacher's death.
Nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel * Nominated for the ITW Thriller Award for Best Young Adult Novel A BookPage Best Book of the Year * A People Magazine Best Book of Summer * A Parade Best Book of Summer * A Crime Reads Most Anticipated Book of Summer Powerful...a breathtaking read, with flawed and authentic characters who hit so close to home that at times it is impossible not to root for them. - San Francisco Chronicle A body burns in the high desert hills. A boy walks into a fire station, pale with the shock of discovery. A middle school teacher worries when her colleague is late for work. By day's end, when the body is identified as local math teacher Adam Merkel, a small Nevada town will be rocked to its core. Adam Merkel left a university professorship in Reno to teach middle school in Lovelock seven months before he died. A quiet, seemingly unremarkable man, he connected with just one of his students: Sal Prentiss, a lonely sixth grader who lives with his uncles on a desolate ranch in the hills. The two outcasts developed a tender, trusting friendship that brought each of them hope in the wake of tragedy. But it is Sal who finds Adam's body, charred almost beyond recognition, half a mile from his uncles' compound. Nora Wheaton, the middle school's social studies teacher, dreamed of a life far from Lovelock only to be dragged back on the eve of her college graduation to care for her disabled father, a man she loves but can't forgive. She sensed in the new math teacher a kindred spirit--another soul bound to Lovelock by guilt and duty. After Adam's death, she delves into his past for clues to who killed him and finds a dark history she understands all too well. But the truth about his murder may lie closer to home. For Sal Prentiss's grief seems heavily shaded with fear, and Nora suspects he knows more than he's telling about how his favorite teacher died. As she tries to earn the wary boy's trust, she finds he holds not only the key to Adam's murder, but an unexpected chance at the life she thought she'd lost. Weaving together the last months of Adam's life, Nora's search for answers, and a young boy's anguished moral reckoning, this unforgettable thriller brings a small American town to vivid life, filled with complex, flawed characters wrestling with the weight of the past, the promise of the future, and the bitter freedom that forgiveness can bring.
America in Context. Establishing Participatory Behavior in Young Adults by Heather Young