This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Jennifer Joyce
Thirteen-year-old Emily Houchens is a bit of a loner. Her classmates think she’s a freak and her parents are busy with her brother, Billy, a lot of the time. After school, Emily goes for walks in the woods near her house, creating a fantasy life for herself. During one of these walks, Emily discovers the hidden body of a woman.
Teacher Susanna Mitchell is concerned when her sister, Ronnie, disappears. Ronnie is wild and unreliable, so Susanna’s husband thinks nothing of the so-called disappearance. He assumes Ronnie has simply taken off for a while without bothering to let her family know where she is, neither thinking or caring that they may worry about her. But something doesn’t feel right to Susanna and she reports Ronnie missing to the police.
The Next Time You See Me isn’t the book I thought it was going to be. With the discovery of the body, hidden away in the woods, I assumed the book would be fast-paced with the events of the victim and the killer being revealed. But the book has a more relaxed, almost gentle pace. The body almost takes a back seat as we’re drawn into the lives of Emily, Susanna and the community in the days surrounding the discovery of the body. Emily is quite a troubled young woman, silently suffering at the harsh words and disdain from her peers. Emily doesn’t have any friends so she invents one to accompany her on her walks in the woods. Upon discovering the body, Emily doesn’t know who to turn to and is strangely compelled by her find. I really felt for Emily, especially as we see how she is treated at school, but her actions could be frustrating at times.Susanna is concerned by her sister’s disappearance, but her worries aren’t taken seriously to begin with, especially by her husband, Dale. Susanna should be able to lean on Dale, to share her burden, but her husband is more interested in his band practice at the school than his wife. Susanna feels trapped by her marriage to Dale. They have a young daughter, but it is Susanna who shoulders the majority of the responsibility, which makes her resent Dale and her fears about the state of their marriage are brought to the surface during the search for her sister.
Although The Next Time You See Me wasn’t the book I was expecting, it was an enjoyable and touching read that really delved into the lives of those involved.
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