Finished October 28
That Night by Chevy Stevens
I've enjoyed Chevy's other books, which were loosely related to each other. This one is a departure, still set on Vancouver Island, this time mostly in Campbell River.
The story moves between time from early 2012 when Toni Murphy is getting out of jail on parole, 1996 when she is in her last year in high school and struggling with bullying at school and a combative relationship with her mother, and 1998 when she goes to jail after her murder conviction. We learn early that Toni and her boyfriend Ryan were convicted of murdering Toni's younger sister Nicole, but that they didn't do it.
Toni doesn't know what happened that night, but she does know that the girls who bullied her in school lied about that night and about her on the witness stand.
We see Toni adjust gradually to her life in jail and finally learn a way to go forward with her life. We see her struggles in life during that last year in high school and the events that led up to her sister's death. We see her difficult relationship with her parents, particularly with her mother. And we see how she finds that her past won't let her go until she finds a way to find the truth about what really happened that night.
The struggles that Toni has as she first encounters bullying at school are difficult to read, especially when people believe her tormentors rather than her. And her relationship with her mother starts as a typical teenage rebellion with a mother who worries about her and wants to guide her, but deteriorates as the chasm between them grows along with a lack of trust. It is Toni's relationship with her boyfriend that provides her with stability in life, and yet seems to be a focus for both her mother and the bullies.
A great story of how things can get out of control, how relationships can change, how one's reputation can make a difference, and how difficult it can be growing up.