344p. Carolrhoda Lab. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781512439779.
Gr 10 Up—In this gritty and well-written romantic thriller, a high school football player with a troubled home life meets a mysterious girl on the beach. Josh falls hard for Chatham Claiborne. She is searching for something, but what? She claims to be looking for her runaway sister, but Josh suspects she's not telling him the whole truth. Could she somehow be linked to a little girl abducted years before from that very same beach, and never found? As Josh gets to know Chatham, he also struggles with his mother's abusive and violent ex-husband. Despite a restraining order, Damien won't stay away, and Josh's mother sometimes seems to welcome him back. Josh shoulders the responsibility of taking care of his young sisters, working hard for a football scholarship, and puzzling over his developing relationship with Chatham. After a somewhat slow start, tensions heighten and the second half of the novel is gripping, with unexpected twists and turns. The romance between Josh and Chatham is believable and sweet, and Josh, rough around the edges but with a heart of gold, is an appealing main character. Chatham is a bit less developed, however.
VERDICT A solid purchase for older high school students who enjoy suspense, mystery, and romance.

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