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We Now Return to Regular Life by Martin Wilson. 370 p. Dial Books/ Penguin Random House, August, 2017. 9781735227828.
Publisher synopsis: The Face on the Milk Carton meets The Impossible Knife of Memory in this ripped-from-the-headlines novel that explores the power of being an ally—and a friend—when a kidnapped boy returns to his hometown.
Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive.
Until now. Because Sam has been found, and he’s coming home. Beth desperately wants to understand what happened to her brother, but her family refuses to talk about it—even though Sam is clearly still affected by the abuse he faced at the hands of his captor.
And as Sam starts to confide in Josh about his past, Josh can’t admit the truths he’s hidden deep within himself: that he’s gay, and developing feelings for Sam. And, even bigger: that he never told the police everything he saw the day Sam disappeared.
As Beth and Josh struggle with their own issues, their friends and neighbors slowly turn on Sam, until one night when everything explodes. Beth can’t live in silence. Josh can’t live with his secrets. And Sam can’t continue on until the whole truth of what happened to him is out in the open.
For fans of thought-provoking stories like The Face on the Milk Carton, this is a book about learning to be an ally—even when the community around you doesn’t want you to be.
First line(s): Chapter 1 - That Day - Beth
We'd been studying on his couch, our Advance Chemistry textbooks sitting on the coffee table, suffering through questions about alkali metals and noble gases, when Donal made a joke about gas being ignoble. And I laughed, like I always did at his dumb jokes. And then our knees touch and our shoulders bump and suddenly we start kissing each other. Like, a real kiss, deep and forceful, sending gentle sparks up my back. I'm wondering how in the world this happened when my cell phone starts ringing.
Page 56: From Chapter 2 - The White Truck - Josh
She opens the door then, looks at me while I sit at my desk with my books. "Do you want to talk about it?she says. "I know it's a lot to take in."
"I've still got a lot of homework." I turn back to my book, but I know she's staring at me, like she's trying to see if I'm okay or if I'm going to break down and cry or something.