STORY: On the night of Alex Carmody’s sixteenth birthday, she and her best friend, Cass, are victims of a terrible car accident. Alex survives; Cass doesn’t. Consumed by grief, Alex starts cutting school and partying, growing increasingly detached. The future she’d planned with her friend is now meaningless to her.
Meg Carmody is heartbroken for her daughter, even as she’s desperate to get Alex’s life back on track. The Birches, a boarding school in New Hampshire, promises to do just that, yet Alex refuses to go. But when Meg finds a bag of pills hidden in the house, she makes a fateful call to a transporter whose company specializes in shuttling troubled teens to places like The Birches, under strict supervision. Meg knows Alex will feel betrayed—as will her estranged husband, who knows nothing of Meg’s plans for their daughter.
When the transport goes wrong—and Alex goes missing—Meg must face the consequences of her decision and her deception. But the hunt for Alex reveals that Meg is not the only one keeping secrets.
REVIEW: Alex Carmody is a very unhappy and depressed teenage girl. The Sweet Sixteen party that was given for her ended up in tragedy. She and her best friend, Cass, and other friends, Shana, and her brother went out for Slurpies after the party. Shana and Alex had been drinking but Cass and the boy driving had not. An accident occurred. Cass was without a seat belt and was thrown from the car. She died from her injuries. Alex had a cut on her forehead. Since then, Alex cannot stop blaming herself for Cass’s death. She is devastated and is unable to surface from it.
Meg and Jacob are Alex’s parents. Meg is a nurse and Jacob is in construction. For some time now, their marriage has been failing. Currently, Jacob sleeps in the basement. They are still in the same house only because Jacob’s dwindling jobs have left him unable to afford his own place.
Meg has done everything she can to help Alex and try to get her to open up to counselors, all to no avail. She skips school, smokes, drinks when she can and literally hangs out at the cemetery lying on Cass’s grave. Meg is very worried and is at her wit’s end. The last straw is when she finds a bag of pills hidden in the sofa in the basement and figures it belongs to Alex. So, when she sees a place called The Birches, located in New Hampshire, which is a school for emotionally disturbed teens, she seriously considers it. Jacob is totally against it, but trying to discuss anything with him is always a battle. Meg also finds a transporting service that has lots of experience in picking up people to be delivered to The Birches. After talking with the owner, Carl, she realizes that using this method of having two unknown people take Alex to the school is better than trying to do it herself. So, she arranges for it.
When Carl and another woman come to take Alex, she is surprised that her mother would do this to her but finally relents and gets into the car for the several hour trip. As the hours pass, the weather deteriorates. Suddenly, a moose is in the middle of the road and the car hits it. Carl has a cut on his head, the woman is critically injured, and Alex has escaped.
Where could she be? How can they find her in the middle of this ice storm?
This is a good story. I gave it five stars because it is a well-written plot, although I think it was much too long. However, this is a problem that faces many parents today who are looking for answers as to how to help their troubled children. I think that parents might benefit from reading this. It truly is an eye-opener.
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher
Connie for b2b