Written in the first person, we see the story unfold through the eyes of 13-year-old Lizzie. Evie and Lizzie have been friends for ever in that close, intimate way that only happens in childhood where every secret and emotion is shared. Now, however, Evie has disappeared and Lizzie is trying to make sense of her feelings of loss, her suspicions that Evie may have been hiding something and her relationships with Evie's family who have been her second family for so long.
This book is an examination of that difficult time when childhood and adolescence meet. Lizzie is experiencing her first feelings of sexual desire and is trying to understand and deal with this. Being 13 is a long time ago for me now, but Lizzie took me back to that turmoil of emotions, that clash of innocence and knowingness, that combined sense of anticipation and apprehension of a new phase of life, and it seemed to me that the author had caught this incredibly accurately. Through Lizzie, she talks about the physical changes, the private fantasies, the struggle to understand the motivations of adults and to be accepted by them in a new way, the secrets and stresses within families.
The book is tautly written and relatively short at around 250 pages. I found it an uncomfortable but engrossing read, covering aspects of pubescent sexuality that we sometimes like to pretend don't exist. Suspenseful to the end and with a pervading atmosphere of dread, I shared with Lizzie a need not just to know what had happened to Evie, but to understand. This is not a book I will soon forget - I highly recommend it to anyone who was once a 13-year-old girl, though I'd love to see some male reviews too.