Release Date: January 3rd, 2017
A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn’t mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life. That includes taking her job… and her boyfriend. It’s a huge risk — but it’s just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.
Rush opened his mouth, but no words came out. He seemed unsteady on his feet. Suddenly, I had this thought that maybe the virus was deadly—or worse than deadly. Maybe my brother had been turned into a zombie.
I glanced at my mom to see how she was taking this new development, but she was still lost in whatever world she goes to when she’s ignoring me.
Rush hesitated in the doorway, giving me time to evaluate my options. Obviously, it was up to me to save both me and my mom, which I found slightly unfair. If I was smart, I’d leave her to fend for herself. But considering that she gave birth to me, it wouldn’t be very nice to run off and let her be devoured by her only son.
On the other hand, if I tried to save us both, there was a good chance I’d get bitten in the process, and then I’d have roughly twenty-four hours before I became a zombie too. And from what I’ve read, the process of turning into a zombie is totally painful. Before I could take any kind of action, like trying to chop off Rush’s head, he cleared his throat. I was taken aback. Generally, the undead aren’t big communicators. Or so I’ve heard. My mom looked over, and I could tell she knew something was up.
She put down the plate she was washing. “Rush, what is it?”
I opened my mouth to tell her to keep her distance, but Rush started talking. I could accept a zombie clearing his throat, but talking was entirely out of character. Which meant I’d jumped the gun, and Rush probably wasn’t undead after all. What Rush said, while my mind was still filled with thoughts of zombieism, was, “Lizzie Lovett is missing.”
I was disappointed. My zombie fantasy was ripped away for Lizzie Lovett of all people. I’d never been a member of the Lizzie Lovett fan club and didn’t have much interest in her whereabouts. Not to mention, if my brother really had turned into a zombie, my boring life would’ve become way more exciting. Also, it would have probably gotten me out of school.
My mom said, “She’s missing?”
Rush looked like he might cry. I couldn’t remember the last time that had happened. He sighed and slumped into the seat across from me. My mom left the sink and joined us at the table. We were almost like a normal family having a normal breakfast. Almost.
“Are you really having an episode over a girl you haven’t talked to in years?” I asked.
My mom gave me an unamused look, then turned to my brother with concern.
“What happened, Rush?”
I could feel my chances of skipping school diminishing. But seriously, I was pretty sure Rush and Lizzie hadn’t seen each other since their graduation.
“Whatever happened, I’m sure she’s fine,” I said. “This is Lizzie Lovett we’re talking about.”
Rush ignored me. He pulled his phone from his pocket and read my mom the texts he’d gotten from one of the guys who’d been on the football team with him, Kyle something-or- other.
Kyle something-or-other used to date Lizzie, which he figured was why Lizzie’s mom called him, even though they’d broken up three years ago, right after their senior year. But Kyle guessed Lizzie’s mom must be calling everyone she’d been close to, just in case. So she called and asked if he’d randomly heard from Lizzie, and of course, Kyle hadn’t, because that would be weird, and she said to let her know if he did, and Kyle said OK and blah, blah, blah.
And that’s how I found out Lizzie Lovett disappeared before it was even on the news.
Q & A
Hypothetically, if you were to disappear one day, what reason would be behind your disappearance?
One of my greatest irrational fears in life is being murdered by a serial killer. So, the pessimistic version of me assumes that if I ever disappear it’ll be because I had a run-in with some Jeffrey Dahmer-type person.
But it’s probably more interesting to consider intentional disappearances.
Because that happens. Sometimes people walk out the door and never come back. They leave their whole lives behind and start over.
The idea terrifies me a bit. It’s uncomfortable to think of being alone in an unfamiliar place with nothing of your life, of who you are, anchoring you. But I also understand the allure.
I imagine it would feel a bit like when I go on vacation. Sometimes I think the best part of leaving town is being in a place where no one knows me. I’m not going to randomly run into any acquaintances. I don’t have an obligation to be a certain way. I’m anonymous.
It makes you feel free. Like you can be anyone you want to be. Like you’re not tied town by the usual rules that govern your life.
I think a lot of people have moments where they think, “I really don’t want to be me right now.”
If you pulled a disappearing act, if you left and started over, you could leave all your baggage behind. You wouldn’t be limited by what people expected of you. You could remake your life according to your own terms.
Or could you? That’s the thing about this fantasy, the reason disappearing will never be more than an interesting idea for me. I think there are certain parts of ourselves we can never escape. For better or worse, these things are a part of us. Running from them, becoming someone new, might be a distraction for a while. But eventually the truth would start to surface.
That’s the problem with disappearing. No matter how far someone runs, they can never fully escape from themselves.
Have you read this book? What do you think about it? And how greatly the author answered my question!
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