In the woods of a small Kentucky town, Aubrey sets off on a journey about growing up, self-discovery, and acceptance while searching for their missing best friend–perfect for fans of King and the Dragonflies and Three Times Lucky.
Aubrey and Joel are like two tomato vines that grew along the same crooked fence–weird, yet the same kind of weird. But lately, even their shared weirdness seems weird. Then Joel disappears. Vanishes. Poof. The whole town is looking for him, and Aubrey was the last person to see Joel. Aubrey can’t say much, but since lies of omission are still lies, here’s what they know for sure:For the last two weeks of the school year, when sixth grade became too much, Aubrey and Joel have been building a raft in the woods.
The raft was supposed to be just another part of their running away game.
The raft is gone now, too.
Aubrey doesn’t know where Joel is, but they might know how to find him. As Aubrey, their friend Mari, and sister Teagan search along the river, Aubrey has to fess up to who they really are, all the things they never said, and the word that bully Rudy Thomas used that set all this into motion.
I received this book ahead of publication from NetGalley at no cost to me.
I love books about nonbinary kids who have supportive families — wish fulfillment for a lot of us, I think! — but sometimes you’re not so lucky. Aubrey and Joel are both growing up in a world where their family and community is not so supportive, and I think that’s really important. This book takes place during the summer, and while I was reading it during the false spring of February, I really felt that. I read this in one or two sittings — it’s very short! — and it was honestly quite hard to put down.
Not to be kid-lit on main, but this book is full of heart. If it interests you at all, you should read it, or share it with a kid who might be interested in it. It’s worth it. Five stars. Bookshop link. Storygraph link.