Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: YA Romantic Thriller
Published: April 18th, 2017
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Source: E-galley from publisher for honest review
My rating: 5 stars
The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.
The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.
But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?
I rarely read YA books that don't have a paranormal or dystopian type of story-line. But there are certain authors that I will read almost any book they write, no matter what genre, and Kelley Armstrong is one of those. This book is a perfect example of why she is on my YA author automatic read list. The story read just like I was sitting on the edge of my seat watching a suspense movie at the theater. It had so many twists and turns, and while I had a tiny inkling of who or what might be behind all of these threatening events, Armstrong still made it so that I really was guessing up until that final climactic scene at the end. All of the characters were so complex, and while you felt like you really got to know them, the whole story was used to unravel just who they really were. And I like that in a YA book, as that is how it really is for teenagers, not knowing just yet who they are.
Winter is a character that you root for right away. She's a bit of an underdog in the small town, she comes from a trailer park, and lives alone with her father, who is verbally and emotionally abusive, if not also physically abusive at times. Her sister took off after high school, and Winter hasn't heard from her since. We are given small peeks into what the reasons for her sister leaving have to do with Winter, and the blanks are filled in all the way up until the end, again, keeping you reading and very involved with the story. Then there is Lennon, the boy she finds in a tree near her cabin in the woods. He's a charmer, and you can't help but like him. When he disappears though, it causes Winter even more distress, since his showing up also led her to believe that her best friend was in trouble. And then in comes Jude, Lennon's slightly older brother. He's different, not a charmer, but there's still something about him that you can't help but like. With Jude comes a whole new set of suspects and scenarios for Winter to wade through in order to try to help her best friend, her new friend Lennon, and possibly past teens who disappeared after high school.
There really wasn't anything that I didn't like about this book. It kept me reading, to the point that after lunch breaks I did not want to stop reading to go back to work. It kept me guessing, not having completely figured it all out until the big reveal scene at the end, and even that had a twist in it. Once again Armstrong has blown me away with a great story. She'll continue to stay high on my list of must-read YA authors.