Everything somehow circles back to another in this story. 13 year old Emily Houchens is the oddball at school, and the only place she feels comfortable is out in the woods, where she can let her imagination run wild. Here, the newest boy to town (and probably the wealthiest), Christopher, is her boyfriend, and they can talk about everything she wants. But one day she trips, spraining her ankle, and ends up finding a dead body. Instead of telling anyone about it, she keeps the secret to herself. Susanna Mitchell is Emily's English teacher, and married to the band/music teacher for both the high school and the middle school. She does her best to keep everything at home perfect, but when her sister goes missing without a trace, Susanna starts to wonder about the way her life is going. The circle continues as Tony Joyce, who is now a detective (after being the star baseball player who tried so hard to get away from town) tries to find out what happened to Ronnie. Wyatt Powell is a factory worked who lives along with his dog, Boss, on Emily's street. He is tortured by his past, and he's hiding a very big secret.
I had a hard time putting this book down when evening chores called! It's well written, and it reeled me in - so much, that at moments I wanted to throttle Emily for not sticking up for herself, or for liking the bratty little Christopher. I understood the small town life - although this was Kentucky, you could easily swap it out for my hometown. I'm sure it's that way with many small towns. We all have folks in our towns that could easily be swapped out for these characters, too. That's what makes the author's writing come alive - you feel like you're there, and you know all these characters already. They live on your street. Like it is in all small towns, everything - and everyone - is connected in it.
If you like suspenseful tales, definitely add this one to your to-read list!
The Next Time You See Me: A Novel by Holly Goddard Jones is a hardcover fiction book published by Touchstone. It is 384 pages long. The suggested cover price is $24.99, but Amazon has it available for $15.16 as of this posting. It is also available on audio CD, as well as an e-book for the Kindle and other e-readers.
I received a copy of this book in order to read it and share my thoughts on it. All opinions are my own, and not that of the author(s) or publisher.