Note: I was accepted for this blog tour back in May, but I didn't finish reading the ARC until July, so that's why this post is going up now. Enjoy my review! 


Mystery surrounds the town of Summertime, Indiana, where fifteen-year-old Tommy Walker and his little sister are sent to live with relatives they’ve never met. Tommy soon makes friends with his rebellious neighbor, Finn Wilds.

Finn invites Tommy to late night meetings in the woods, where Tommy gets to know two girls. He forms a special and unique connection with both girls. The meetings become a place where the kids, who don’t fit in at school, or home can finally belong. As the group of friends begin to unravel clues to a cold case murder and kidnapping— they learn the truth is darker and closer than they ever imagined. Even if they live to tell, will anyone believe them?

About R.J. Garcia

R.J. Garcia is a wife and proud mom. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short-stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!

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My (Spoiler-Free) Review

In a Nutshell: I really enjoyed reading a darker take on a group of outsiders who grew closer together because of a murder mystery. Also, they went through situations against the adults in the small town that made them group together for teamwork. 

What I Loved: I loved hearing from a teen male's perspective in YA. I hardly get to read from a boy's point of view, and Tommy was a decent young man who just wanted to protect his little sister, Isabelle (Izzy, for short). At first, he didn't understand why he and Izzy had to be away from their mother to live with relatives he's never met. But when he met Finn, Annie and Silence to help with the murder mystery of Silence's mother, it gave him a sense of purpose to protect his family and friends. Izzy was adorable everytime she was on the page, and the bond she had with Tommy was really special to read about. 

The friendships between Tommy and Finn; Finn and Silence; and Tommy and Annie were interesting too. Even though Tommy had thought Finn was a little weird at first, they became best friends through the adventures they had. Silence was this headstrong young girl who didn't back down from a challenge, so it was odd to see her relationship with Finn. However, there were situations they got into that made sense as to why they would be together in the end. Tommy and Annie's character arc was nice too; their friendship was sweet and they had a lot of cute moments together.

What I Wanted More of: It would have been nice to see more of a progression between Tommy and his uncle and aunt, Holden and Reese. Tommy was skeptical of them because he didn't know them, and he didn't know how to talk to them. Reese made it difficult by smoldering both Tommy and Izzy. But it would have been better to see them have more moments to grow as a family. I won't spoil, but there's a twist towards the end that will make you realize some things about Holden...

Writing Style: Since this was written in Tommy and Finn's perspective, I didn't expect the writing to be lush and full of imagery, like a young girl's would be. So reading from their points of view was both insightful and not as dumb as I thought it would be. Tommy is a really smart kid; he figures a lot of stuff before the rest of his friends do! And the writing showcases that. Finn was also written pretty well. He's more of an insecure character, so the writing around him felt unsure about himself. 

Final Thoughts: Again, there's not much else I can say about this reading without spoiling major details. I'm glad I finally got the chance to finish it. It was a great read, and I hope to see what R.J. Garcia has in store in the future. 

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