About This Book
February 18, 2019
Fitzpatrick's glittering debut tells the story of how 15-year-old Ilya's wildest dream-going to America-is shattered by his worst nightmare: doing it without his older brother. Ilya, a gifted Russian teen in Berlozhniki, so impresses his English teacher Maria that she pins on him her hopes, and the hopes of the town: that he will pass an exam allowing him to go on exchange to America for a year. Having passed the exam, Ilya flies to live with the Mason family in Louisiana in 2008, but his thoughts are still at home, where his older brother, Vladimir, is in jail for the murders of young women that Ilya knows he didn't commit-but to which Vladimir has confessed. Ilya struggles to adjust to American life as he works to prove his brother's innocence, looking online for information about what the three murdered girls have in common and eventually piecing together enough clues to lead him to a shocking discovery. He is helped by Sadie, the Masons' blunt oldest daughter, a high school freshman, who is dealing with her own family secrets. The murder mystery is intricate and well-crafted, but the highlight is the relationship between the two brothers-the shy brainiac and the charming addict-and in the smoldering, seething resentment felt by young people. This is a heartbreaking novel about the lengths to which people go to escape their own pain, and the prices people are willing to pay to alleviate the suffering of their loved ones.