Seventeen-year-old Christian Marx never belonged anywhere but with his best friend Maye. Life with her beats the hell out of the dingy apartment he shares with his neglectful mother. Mom may be blood, but Maye and her little sister Rowe are family. Life would be perfect if only Maye loved him the way he loved her.
Last night, she did. Today, she's dead—a tragic accident no one could have predicted.
With Maye gone, it's up to those she left behind to figure out how to move on. Only one person can drag Christian away from the ledge. Only one person can save Maye's little sister from making a huge mistake.
Sometimes the only way to un-break yourself is to fix someone else.
14+ for sexuality and adult situations
“Yeah, 387 Greer Highway.” My voice was flat over the sound of sobbing, begging, in the background. “Overdose…barely…bourbon and something prescription, I’m not sure.”
The dispatcher pledged to stay on the line until the ambulance arrived, but I abandoned her first, setting the receiver on the kitchen counter and grabbing the car keys before walking out the front door, unnoticed. What was one more unforgivable act? Besides, I'd done my part. The rest would have to be on the two of them. I stood in the driveway looking back at for a few moments at this place that used to feel like home, and continued on my way to anywhere but here.
I don’t remember the three point turn, or creeping under the canopy of trees that shaded the long gravel drive from the house to the road. Time was lost and instinct took over steering, the gas pedal, and the brake, though I had no need for it. There was no traffic this time of night, when morning hung only a couple of hours over the horizon. I just drove, the lazy speed of the car moving through the dark echoing the numbness I’d succumbed to after struggling against it for so long. It felt almost nice.
I watched, lost in thought, as the darkened houses and pastures passed. I'd considered the existence of fate many times in my life, but only for the past few weeks with any real seriousness. The mistakes made tonight were no accident, no coincidence. Had any of it ever been?
Without realizing, I pulled the car off to the shoulder and into the grass, at that place on Greer Highway that had haunted me for what seemed like a lifetime. It felt like another life, when we’d been happy. I stared out the windshield, willing myself to see something real, something to anchor me in reality, but there was nothing.
I needed to feel it, this road I'd been avoiding in the weeks since. To touch it, know if there was anything left there. It felt like the natural place to make peace with all that had happened, apologize. There had been a purpose to all of it. Maybe she could forgive me. But would I ever forgive myself?
Posted by Rose on 12th Nov 2015
I found the book to be well written, the story well told, and the characters well defined. I thought the structure was interesting. It kept you on your toes while reading each chapter. The story was haunting and I continued to think a lot about the story and characters many days after reading the book.
Posted by Katharine Edgar on 12th Nov 2015
This was a moving and sensitively written novella exploring the effects of grief on the boyfriend and sister of a teenage girl who dies in an accident.
Heckman is an observant and thoughtful writer who manages to get into the heads of her three characters and makes us feel for them intensely. Her mastery of detail really brings the story and the characters to life. This a character- and emotion-driven story, rather than an adventure, but it moves at a good pace and finally comes together into an ending that is almost heartbreakingly hopeful.
I look forward to reading a full-length novel by this author one day.