Back to you is my first book by author Chris Scully but it won’t be the last! The writing was evocative and was one of the best at making the reader visualize and feel the setting. From the opening scene of Alex driving into his hometown I was hooked on the writing style.
Alex is returning to his hometown when he receives a call from his older sister that his dad is dying and wants to see him. Alex agrees to return although he is reluctant and is looking more forward to seeing his childhood best friend Benji then his family. Ben was not only Alex’s best friend but also the first boy to ever kiss him. Alex resents his absent, alcoholic father and isn’t close to his sister who defends their father. The book’s pace is a bit slow in the first part and Alex and Benji don’t spend much time together nor do they talk much for the first half of the book. Alex was planning on writing about his homecoming but is quickly caught up in the mystery surrounding Benji’s older sister who disappeared shortly before Alex left town. She was considered a runaway but about a week before Alex returned her car was found and the case was reopened. Initially Ben doesn’t want Alex looking into the case but eventually gives in when he realizes Alex doesn’t want to let it go.
Back to You is written in Alex’s POV and is essentially his journey not only home but also to reconcile his childhood, his relationship with his family and where Ben fits into his life. Alex isn’t always easy to like and he has let his childhood view of the past color the present. I enjoyed seeing Alex’s eyes open that the past wasn’t quite all that he thought it was and seeing him navigate the relationship with his sister and his father.
The dynamics of Alex’s family were realistic, heart breaking and complex. Although we didn’t get Ben’s POV the dynamics between his mother who spent all of her energy wrapped up in the past and trying to find answers about her missing daughter to the detriment of Ben were also realistic and heart breaking. While both men had complicated family relationships they handled them in completely different ways.
The suspense was engaging and there were plenty of red herrings thrown in to lead the reader astray with just enough clues to lead to the possibility of guessing the truth or at least part of it. I wasn’t as engaged with the romance as I was the suspense and the family dynamics. However, I was very engaged with the growth of Alex’s character and his discovery that the truth he had held to was distorted by his youth and the secrets he was unaware of.
So while I found the pace a bit slow and the romance a bit disappointing the evocative writing and the complex relationships and character growth along with a interesting suspense made up for it. Released 12 Jun 20117. 4 charms!