Liam's Town
by Marissa Dike
Dorrance Publishing Co.

"It’s amazing how quickly your life can change, isn’t it? A second line on a pregnancy test. A car running a stop sign."

Liam is a young man with a limp and a mysterious past who is content to maintain the status quo in his small, sleepy town. Living with an older man he calls Grandfather, Liam helps him run a shop full of knick-knacks and random vintage goods that collect dust more than they do profits. But the town is a strangely quiet and empty place, and the arrival of a stranger causes Liam anxiety on top of his teenage problems. While Liam is torn between the accessible feelings of his friend Jenny and his heart’s desire for his best friend, Trinity, the stranger looms in the background, knowing more about Liam than he should. This stranger tells Liam an uncomfortable truth about himself and where he lives, one that reveals a secret about Liam he is almost incapable of facing.

At face value, this is a story of transition from boyhood to manhood, with all the uncomfortable decisions and unwanted feelings that come with it. To be sure, it is a story about change and growth, but the story takes its time getting there, presenting a sort of idyllic stillness that raises just enough questions but not a lot of red flags. The narrative twists are delivered like punches to the gut that stun and bring everything into focus and are paced out with precision and deftness. The story is divided into two parts, the first serving as a buildup that leads to its shocking turning point, and the latter cleaning up the aftermath of that change, allowing Liam his chance to grow and move past his shackles. Psychological, unsettling, and deeply dramatic, this is a book that will leave readers breathless once they understand the stakes involved.

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