Based on a true story! Life for preteen Cassie and her older sister is anything but normal. She and her sister live in poverty on a farm with her parents, miles from the nearest neighbors, and though her father is a mean drunk, Cassie is happy with her life. She loves her band teacher, though she’s only mediocre at her instrument. She has a crush on a young man who rides her bus and attends the same school.
Then things start to change. Young boys begin to go missing, and the rumors of what happens to them are almost too vulgar for young Cassie to understand. Several of her classmates are affected, and blame is thrown around to nearly every adult male in Lilydale, including her father, her band teacher, and even the sheriff.
Throughout the nightmare, her parents continue to host their wild parties, and ingratiate those in power.
Cassie fancies herself an amateur detective, and takes it upon herself to investigate the kidnapping and rapes. Especially once her worst nightmare occurs. Her beloved crush is kidnapped. Despite being cornered by one of the victims, and seeing how the rapes have changed the boys she once knew, she discovers the common link in all of the victims. But will she find her crush in time?
This one got me. I read a lot of crime thrillers and the story being told from the viewpoint of an uninvolved preteen was quite different than the usual story told from an adult or police viewpoint. While I felt that more could have been explained, and that the story overall left more than a few questions unanswered, it was a decent read, and it’s terrible to think that this was based on a true story that the author lived through.