Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.com
Gail Giles is the queen of psychological thrillers for teens. And I know that with her last release, I stated that WHAT HAPPENED TO CASS MCBRIDE? was my new favorite Giles book. However, I've taken the liberty of changing my mind (yes, again!) and saying that RIGHT BEHIND YOU tops even that great read.
Kip McFarland lived in Alaska with his dad. His mother had gotten sick and died. His Aunt Jemma, his mother's sister, tried to insist that Kip's dad stop living like an animal in the wilds of Alaska, and instead move somewhere proper to raise her nephew. And then he did, because nine-year-old Kip killed Bobby Clarke by setting him on fire.
In Indiana, he was Wade Madison, and he lived with his father and stepmother, Carrie. He became best friends with Dave, a teacher's son. He had a pretty hot girlfriend, Lindsey (also known as AC, for Absolutely Cutest). He was the star of the swim team. And then he couldn't take his own happiness anymore, went slightly ballistic with a group of his friends, and admitted to murdering a child. It was time to leave Indiana.
Carrie's own stepfather had died, leaving her a house in Texas. In Texas, he was still Wade, but he wasn't the Wade from Indiana. And then he met Sam, a girl with tragic secrets of her own, and life changed yet again. He didn't want to be Wade, he wanted to be Kip. But not the Kip that the newspapers had made out to be a monster, and not even the Kip who had once been Wade who was friendly and outgoing and happy-go-lucky. All he wanted was a life that allowed him to accept what he had done without dying from the guilt.
Get a copy of RIGHT BEHIND YOU. Read it and cry, and read it and think. Kip isn't a monster, but neither is he innocent. Kip is a boy who made a costly mistake, and has been paying for it ever since. This is his story, and it's an unforgettable one.