Who We Were in the Dark

Dial. Jul. 2022. 368p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780735228146.
Gr 9 Up–New friendships, secrets, and disappearances. Nora and her brother, Wesley, always thought their dad had died a long time ago. When he reappears in their lives, their mom confesses he just couldn’t cope with his new fatherhood duties and left. Now, he’s back and wants to get to know them. Life at home isn’t easy for Nora, an outcast with few to no friends, or for Wesley, a failed baseball player. Their mom’s frequent headaches and struggles have also meant constant moving and piling bills. When Kevin, their dad, takes them to his family cabin at Donner Lake, the siblings meet Grace and Rand, an odd couple of friends who are much better off than them and who take the pair under their wing. Enigmatic Grace is always looking for the next adventure, and Rand is the level-headed group philosopher. When Grace goes missing, the remaining friends find themselves keeping secrets from the police, as confessing would mean many truths having to come to the surface. The story is told in alternating time lines, spanning past and present, which at times makes the narrative hard to follow and convoluted. The friends mostly get into teen trouble and experiment with alcohol and sneaking out, but the toxic and troubling relationships they have with one another are what drive the plot. Readers will see themselves in the hard choices the characters are forced to make, even if at times, those are not the best for them.
VERDICT Recommended for large collections or fans of E. Lockhart.

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