“I was quickly brought under the spell of this novel, which is filled with pathos, nostalgia, and the best kind of suspense. Una Mannion has beautifully captured the experience of being a child on the verge of adulthood, struggling to fill in the gaps in her understanding of the world around her without much help or mentorship. This is a novel about the way that adults fail children, but also about the moment a child first understands that the adults around her are human–and the empathy that comes with that realization.”


This story takes place in the 1980’s in Pennsylvania. Libby, the narrator of the story is a young teenage girl in a family with a Mom, an older Sister Marie, older brother Thomas and younger sisters Ellen and Beatrice. Their Dad is dead for about a year.
One night on a drive home with the entire family packed tight in the car, Ellen acts up to the point where their Mom stops the car and orders Ellen out of the car. She tells her to walk home. Home is about 5 miles away and it’s about to get dark. Mom pulls away, leaving Ellen alone. This one act sets off a series of events that will change not only their lives, but the lives of some of their friends forever.

The house of cards that exists at the moment of that decision will start to fall apart within 24 hours of Ellen being found. The friends that will be drawn in, some voluntarily and some of no choice of their own, to be engulfed in a situation much like a snowball rolling down a mountain, getting larger and larger as it continues to grow. Even some parents will be caught up in this whirlwind, without even realizing it.
Very well thought out and written, this is a very strong debut, one I heartily recommend.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 15th March 2021

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Richard Franco