Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Ethan I Was Before

Before the incident, Ethan and Kacey were best friends.  They were born just days apart and grew up in the same neighborhood.  It seemed like Ethan was always happy because Kacey always made everything an adventure.

Now, Ethan and his family have moved to Palm Knot, Georgia, his mother's hometown, and no one is particularly happy about it.  His older brother Roddie had to leave his girlfriend, his baseball team, and his chances at a scholarship behind in Boston.  Their parents are always fighting, and moving in with his grandfather feels strange since they never really knew him before.  Ethan's mother and her father have never been close, and living together again is uncomfortable, to say the least.

Ethan knows this is all his fault.  His parents say Grandpa Ike needed the help, but Ethan knows the move was because of the incident and the times he tried to run away.

Meanwhile, Ethan is in a fog, barely speaking to anyone.  Mustering the energy to interact with people is just too much until the day Coralee shows up at school.  Ethan can tell from how the other kids react, that Coralee is not exactly popular, but there is something about her that draws Ethan out.  It doesn't hurt that she never pressures him to share secrets he isn't ready to discuss.  But Coralee has secrets, too, and certain events make Ethan question his trust in her.

As a disaster approaches, Ethan will have to confront his feelings about Kacey and make a decision about whether he wants Coralee as a friend.

Ali Standish's debut novel is a beautiful story about friendship, family, and confronting the guilt of the past.  Secondary characters are well developed, and there is a nicely interwoven subplot about endangered red wolves.  Highly recommended.

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