Ethan De Wilde was kidnapped from right in front of his house when he was just 7 years old. Merely typing that sentence made my blood run cold because my own little boy just turned 7, and I cannot imagine the heartache and the despair that a family would go through in such an event. Unfortunately, it’s not even uncommon to hear about stories like this in the news. This particular story, though, seems to have a happy ending. After all, the book opens with 16-year-old Ethan and a CPS worker waiting for his family at an Amtrak station. After being abandoned by the woman who raised him, living in a group home for a while, and then running away and living on the streets, Ethan is finally heading home. But what seems like a fairy tale ending at first glance is actually very complicated.
Ethan can’t seem to recall anything from his early childhood and feels extremely out of place. He wishes he could remember something — anything! — but he just can’t. Mama and Dad accept that it will take some time to adjust to their new situation, but that is little comfort. Gracie, who was born a couple of years after the abduction, accepts Ethan almost immediately. Even though she had been sheltered from the truth, she is ready and willing to open her heart to the long-lost brother she never knew. His brother Blake, on the other hand, remembers all too well what it felt like when Ethan disappeared. Blake is angry because he feels that his brother should have known better than to get into a car with strangers in the first place, and he resents the fact that Ethan’s disappearance and reappearance have over-shadowed nearly his entire life. It makes sense that Blake would react by lashing out in anger, but his behavior was still a bit shocking at times.
This is definitely a book I would recommend for reluctant readers. Between the interesting premise and the short chapters, I absolutely flew through this book! I wish I could say more about what kept me turning pages, but I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone… Just know that there is something BIG and keep reading until you find it. Trust me — you’ll know when you get there.