cover image Following


Jeffry W. Johnston. Sourcebooks Fire, $10.99 paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4926-6461-1

Sixteen-year-old Alden fancies himself an investigator in training, regularly following people and taking copious notes: “It’s hard to stop. People are strange. I learn a lot.” Alden is also haunted by his parents’ murder the previous summer; they were senselessly shot at a carnival, and Alden is gripped by immense guilt. He’s handed the case of a lifetime when he follows seemingly too-perfect senior Greg Matthes after school and witnesses what appears to be Greg murdering his girlfriend, Amy Sloan. Rather than go to the police with very little evidence (as he’s done in the past) or confront Greg, he confides in his best friend, Charlie. When Amy isn’t at school the next day, Charlie is told that she’s at a three-day-church camp, but Amy’s parents are out of town, so they can’t confirm her whereabouts, and Greg is acting oddly. As the plot by Johnston (The Truth) twists and turns, readers will enjoy being in the company of a gentle, keen observer. Sensitive Alden’s struggle with trauma and his path to forgiving himself is moving and authentic. Ages 14–up. Agent: Wendy Schmalz, Wendy Schmalz Agency. [em](Feb.) [/em]