The Ethan I Was Before

Publisher: Orchard Books

Review

Ethan and his family have just moved from the city to a small town in southern America. His parents say it's to help out Grandpa Ike, who they're staying with, but Ethan knows it's really because of the accident: the dare that went wrong.

Only when he meets the wild and free-spirited Coralee does Ethan start to handle the guilt and grief. She's a human hurricane, and soon the pair are caught up in their new friendship and a set of mysterious local events. But how much of what Coralee tells Ethan is the truth?

An emotionally powerful story about friendship and grief, family and secrets, with a good dose of mystery and a dramatic, race-against-time conclusion. It's very readable, with short chapters and lots of intrigue, while wonderful characterisation and a strong sense of place are just part of what makes this book feel like a future classic.

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