This is a book about Sam Walsh. Sam disappeared at the age of 11, but turns back up three years later.
This is a book about Sam, but it follows two other narrators — Beth- Sam’s older sister, and Josh- Sam’s “friend” and next door neighbor— for the entire 370 pages.
The problem here is, both Beth and Josh’s POVs are so completely unnecessary, and honestly boring as all hell. Josh’s is only slightly more interesting because of the secrets he held regarding the day Sam vanished, as well as the guilt he feels, but Beth’s serves no purpose as far as narration goes. Her “troubles” (if you can even call them that) pale in comparison to her brother’s, and I was constantly frustrated when the author dealt more with Josh and Beth’s issues than the actual person who disappeared and came back. Maybe if there were only a few chapters devoted to their POVs, and more from Sam’s perspective, it would’ve made more sense? I don’t know... It was all just so BORING!
It didn’t help that the dialogue is so clipped and stilted; prepare yourself for hundreds of “Yeah”s, “Okay”s, “Sure”s and “Fine”s.
There’s very little substance here.
When I finally came to the last page, I realized that nothing had really happened. There is so much left unresolved— I won’t go into details, but a lot of it ticked me off. For how dark the subject matter is on the surface, the author never truly dug in deep to the problems within. It could’ve been handled better with a more deft hand, if I’m being honest. You don’t have to be explicit, sure, but you can’t gloss over abuse, recovery, consent, and questionable acts between teens who are clearly NOT okay. There is one passage a little over halfway through that is SO PROBLEMATIC ON SO MANY LEVELS! I was screaming, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!” at the pages, at Martin Wilson (the author)!
When it came down to it, I found that this book only covered the basest parts of all the problems expressed herein; by never going further than the barest of explanations and emotions, it all fell flat. The characters never truly came alive because of it.