Two years ago I did a terrible thing. I accused my best friend of being a killer after seeing him kneeling over a girl's body. That moment and that outcast boy still haunt me.
Now my mom is forcing me back to Oklahoma and I can't get White Bird out of my mind. When I find out he's not in juvie—that he's in a mental hospital, locked in his tormented brain at the worst moment of his life—I can't turn my back on him again.
No one wants me to see him. My mom doesn't trust me. The town sheriff still thinks I was involved in the murder and the other kids who knew the dead girl are after me.
I'm as trapped as White Bird. When I touch him, I get sucked into his living hell, a vision quest of horrifying demons and illusions of that night. Everything about him scares me now, but I have to do something. This time I can't be a coward. This time I have to be his friend.
Even if I get lost.
Two years ago, 16-year-old Brenna Nash turned in her first love, White Bird, for the apparent murder of popular Heather Madsen, then moved to North Carolina. Now, Brenna's mother is forcing her to return to her former town in Oklahoma for the summer to prepare her late grandmother's house for sale. Brenna has never cared about fitting in (she sees ghosts and sleeps in graveyards), but Heather's entourage and even the sheriff make it clear that she's not welcome. When Brenna discovers that White Bird is trapped in a mental hospital, she begins to question his culpability and seeks to regain a connection with him, while learning more about the night Heather died. In her first YA novel, adult thriller writer Dane pens a macabre slow-burner, building tension by alternating Brenna's first-person narrative with sections in omniscient third; Brenna's peers, a deputy, and an observant doctor at White Bird's hospital all contribute insight into the mystery of Heather's death. Thoroughly eerie, the plot includes flashbacks and nightmares involving crossing over into the spirit world, while Dane's well-developed characters provide an authentic exploration of guilt, loyalty, and belonging. Ages 13 up.