Kennedy's debut novel, based on a short story, is a riveting, heartfelt tale that takes the reader back in time. Kenly Alister, a teenager living in Montana, is forced to move once again when her alcoholic father loses yet another teaching job. This pattern has been repeating itself ever since Kenly's mother died years before, and Kenly is dreading their next move, to the town of Athabasca, in Alberta, Canada. But, there, she makes lifelong friends in Max, the lonely widower who's their landlord and neighbor, and Tommy, a young man with exceptional good humor despite his battle with a disfiguring genetic disorder.

Kenly's friendship with Tommy will forever alter her future, and it isn't until years later that she truly appreciates his kindness. With his friendship comes the gift of a tin box that holds Tommy's childhood treasures and reveals secrets of the past he and Kenly shared.

The author creatively uses flashbacks as she effortlessly plots this heartwarming novel. With its riveting story that slowly builds to reveal Kenly's deepest secret, Kennedy's novel has a depth of emotion that is both believable and real. (Oct., 304 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick