Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Date Read: August 2, 2017
Length: 304 pages
Source: First to Read
“This isn’t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, I’m in jail at the moment. I imagine I’ll be here for a long time, considering. But I’m not writing this down for absolution and I’m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because I’m not sorry for what I did to Rose. I’m just not. Not for any of it.”
Ben Gibson is many things, but he’s not sorry and he’s not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But he’s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.
I liked this book a lot. The story grabbed me right away and I was completely hooked. This is the first time that I have read anything by Stephanie Kuehn but I quickly found that she is a fabulous storyteller. I ended up reading this book over two nights and really never wanted to put it down because I had to know what happened. I had a lot of fun reading this book.
This story is told by Ben. I really liked the way the story unfolded through Ben's recollection after the event. From the book's summary, we know that Ben does something to Rose but as I read the story I just couldn't figure it out. Ben is really a likeable guy. He's not perfect and doesn't always know the answers but I just couldn't see him causing harm to anyone. So I had to keep reading to find out what really happened.
The book takes Ben, his teacher, and a few more high school students on an overnight hiking trip. I was a little surprised by how much this group of kids got away with on the trip. Ben is the teacher's assistant for the trip so he has a bit of responsibility but he doesn't hesitate to have a little fun himself. There is a bit of high school drama which I really didn't mind in this story. It felt realistic and really helped show who each of the characters really were.
There are a few surprising twists in the story and a whole lot of excitement before everything is over. I really had no idea what was going to happen to everyone as the story moved along. I ended up feeling for these kids as they tried to figure out how to handle the situation they found themselves in.
I would recommend this book to others. It was a really exciting story that was really hard to put down. I definitely plan to read more of Stephanie Kuehn's work in the future.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Dutton Books for Young Readers via First to Read.
About the Author
Stephanie Kuehn is a psychologist and author. Her first novel, Charm & Strange, won the American Library Association’s William C. Morris Award for best debut novel in 2014. Her novel The Smaller Evil won the PEN/Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. She is the author of two other critically acclaimed YA novels.