right behind you by Gail Giles
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release date: September 2007
REVIEW FROM ARC
Overview: Kip McFarland was nine when he set his neighbor on fire. The little boy died and Kip ended up in the state mental ward. After years of therapy and interaction with other dangerous juveniles, Kip is released into the real world. Kip changes his name to Wade and he, his dad and his dad’s new wife move to Indiana. At first, things go well and the family seems to blend in with its new surroundings. But, despite his new name and new life, Wade can not let go of the past and he self-destructs one night by spilling his history to his friends. Wade and his parents are forced to move again and it is in this new home that Wade attempts to deal with his demons and face his guilt.
I think most of us have experienced listening/watching/reading the news and hearing of a child who destroyed another child’s life. My first reaction to these stories is horror, dread and disbelief. Then, I generally jump to the conclusion that the offending child has a deficiency – perhaps in his upbringing or personality - that would cause him to snap and harm another person. Giles’ story, though, causes me to rethink my reaction.
In Right Behind You, Kip kills another boy, but it was not premeditated, he is not a monster and he suffers his entire life because of his action. Giles does not condone what he did, she does not make excuses for him, but she does set up the scene and show you the aftermath from his point of view. Kip is a genuinely good person – he is not psychotic, as are many of the teens he encounters in his institutionalized upbringing – who did a bad thing and suffered the consequence. © Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy