Title: Next Day Gone
Author: J.C. Wing
In the fall of 1998, four girls disappeared from Redwood, a small town just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. All of them were young. All of them were beautiful. None of them were found alive. Drew’s mother, Willow, was one of those girls.
Seventeen years later, Paige, Drew’s girlfriend, disappears from school. When she’s found dead, the details of her murder are eerily similar to his mother’s. Residents fear the return of the Sleeping Beauty Strangler, and Drew’s family is thrown back into the spotlight.
Things are a bit different this time around because Drew has seen the killer.
What’s worse is the killer knows it.
Can he untangle the details of both murders while under the watchful gaze of the killer? Can he keep his loved ones safe, or will he die before bringing the murderer to justice?
Willow’s an average teen trying to make it through high school with her best friend. Things for her aren’t always easy, but she’s a bright optimistic girl that fights everything that comes her way. Then girls around her start to die. At first, she doesn’t think much of it, but when girl after girl fall, and the police are no closer to a lead, she fears she could be next. And she’s right. After a gap in the story, we are introduced to seventeen-year old Drew, Willow’s child. After his girlfriend goes missing and is found murdered in the same manner his mother had been, Drew is sent on a quest to find the person responsible and stop them once and for all.
I think my favorite part about this story is how real the characters felt. They weren’t typical “Mary Jane” tropes that I see in a lot of YA books. They were real, flawed, and had realistic thoughts and emotions. I especially found myself connecting to Willow. Her journey was tough, and it was more realistic of the issues that a lot of girls may find themselves facing. Whether it was from Zac and his unwelcome advances or her need for a relationship with someone who wasn’t quite right for her, Willow faced every obstacle with her head high. Straight to the end.
I also thought it was interesting the way the author almost told two stories in the same book. In part one, we are introduced to Willow and her friends. Part two sees her child, Drew, and the way that his mother’s world overlaps into his. I thought that was a unique touch, adding layers to this whodunit it make it all the more engaging.
All in all, if you like psychological YA reads, this is one that will keep you guessing.