In this story, a 13-year-old boy called Jon is cutting through the woods on the way to school, a route he takes to avoid bullies. Even though he is semi-secret close-friends with Chloe, a popular girl who hangs out with the bullying boys, he is still routinely victimized by the boys while she fails to intervene. Then he disappears.
Oddly enough, the bullies are not to blame. No one knows (or seems to care much, with the exception his parents and Chloe) where he is, until he suddenly reappears four years later, and he comes back changed. He's different, and I mean in a Pet Sematary kind of way that I can't explain without a major spoiler. The rest of the story deals mostly with his continuing relationship with Chloe, a girl he seems forever linked to through what seems a combination of her guilt and his obsession.
I really liked this book at the beginning because the characters were so real and engaging, and that continued throughout the reading (with the addition of a police detective who was equally well-drawn), but I became more and more troubled by what was happening in the story. I like a complicated plot that I can eventually figure out, and I don't mind weird unexplained elements that eventually get explained or resolved somehow, but this book did not manage to get the resolution on track. I found the ending very unsatisfying.
Still, it held my attention and engaged my emotions. I'm still giving a qualified thumbs-up.