cover image Fourmile


Watt Key. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-35095-6

Like Moon, the protagonist of Key’s Alabama Moon, 12-year-old country boy Foster is a rough-edged hero with a barrelful of troubles and a large, compassionate heart. Foster is still grieving the death of his father when his mother begins dating another man, Dax, who scares Foster “in a way I didn’t understand. Like somebody I’d find standing over my bed at night, closing those fingers around my throat.” To make matters worse, Foster’s mother wants to sell their rural Alabama farm, which her late husband “worked and saved ten years” to buy. Then a mysterious hiker named Gary shows up and offers to do some much-needed repairs. Spending his nights in the barn and his days fixing things, Gary wins the trust of Foster and his mother, but makes an enemy of Dax. As tensions between Gary and Dax mount, Key masterfully unveils secrets, leading up to an explosive climax that tests the courage of everyone involved. Suspenseful and introspective, Key’s novel is an intimate portrait of the messy complexities of modern small-town life. Ages 9–12. Agent: Marianne Merola, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (Sept.)