Rating: 3 out of 5
"On that night, there were no sounds. No sights. Only the fog hushing the woods with secrets."
On Halloween 1963, 11 year old Chuck and his brother Danny are lost in a toxic smog covering the town of Slippery Elm. When the smog lifts, half the town is sick and 20 people are dead. And Danny is missing. Over 20 years later, Chuck's teenage daughter Frank plots to escape from the town. When a murdered child is found in the river, investigators link the crime to Danny's disappearance, and Frank's life is turned upside down. She must uncover her family's dark past if she wants to keep her sister Boots from The State.
Alright so this book was a little different than I expected. We get a lot of ominous and mysterious vibes pretty early on. It also becomes clear that the story is told in retrospect through the tone of the narrator. The book claims a shocking eleventh hour reveal and an emotionally charged finale, but to me it just fell a little flat on that promise. I loved Frank and Boots I think that the love Frank had for her sister is one of the most redeeming qualities for her throughout this book. I'll say this book is one that you have to be prepared for some dark topics, because it was hitting on some difficult stuff, especially child neglect.
All the characters felt like this little band of misfits who found one another, and then bad stuff just kept happening. A lot of secrets aren't revealed until the very end and then a few of them felt wrapped up too nicely in my opinion. It just felt too simple of an answer. I also didn't like that by the end it didn't feel like anything had been resolved, I was left feeling slightly unfulfilled by the events. However, the book is well written and engaging. It was a quick read and well written. I just wished things had turned out a little differently or been explored in more detail. It honestly felt like all the murder/mystery elements were just background story. I think I would have liked it better if it had just been a coming of age story, without the murder/mystery elements.