When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .
Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself.
He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.
He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.
Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present.
Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.
This debut by Stephanie Kuehn was definitely one that I was surprised by. The description told me what to expect, but in the end I was completely blown away.
For the first half or so of the story we get alternating points of view of Andrew Winston Winters. The first is of Win as a teenager, present say, and the other is of Drew as a boy. Stephanie does a phenomenal job of maintaining the same voice of the character, but changing the tone for each. We see how Andrew was as a boy and how much he changed as a teen, with the stories eventually merging.
I’m not entirely sure that I understood everything that happened in this book, but I’m okay with that. The alternating points of the story live you wondering just what’s going on and if what Win believes about himself is true. I’m still trying to figure that out and I love that this book has me thinking about it even after I’ve finished it.
One of the most important aspects was Win deciding to truly live in spite of the tragedies he’d experienced. His journey to come to grips with everything leaves room for more to be told, though I don’t think it will be, and musing about what it could all mean.
In any case I really enjoyed this debut and definitely hope for more from the author, whether in this world or a new one.
And now Giveaway Time:
Release date: June 11th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Stephanie Kuehn is a YA writer who grew up in Berkeley, California, which is a quirky sort of a place with a ton of wonderful bookstores. Her very first job was working in one of those bookstores, and she’s been a freakishly avid reader for as long as she can remember.
Stephanie’s other passions include mental health advocacy, social justice, and sports of all kinds. She’s currently living in Northern California with her family and their wild menagerie of pets.