Tommy Smythe is a junior in high school who disappeared one day. No one is sure what happened to him. Did he run away to track down his birth parents? Did he just wander off? Was he kidnapped? Did he slip into a parallel universe somehow? All of those are theories offered up by residents of the town, but no one knows for sure.
It's very difficult to describe this book other than weird. I've never read anything quite like it. Each chapter switches perspectives between a different person. Chapters told in first person are mostly interviews by the police with people who knew him. Chapters told in third person focus on people who found various items Tommy left behind. In between each chapter is an excerpt from Tommy's journal.
The book felt more like a collection of short stories with a loose theme connecting all of them. Several had nothing to do with Tommy other than the character finding something of his. Even the interviews with the police tended to ramble on into things unrelated to Tommy. It really was more like we were seeing into the lives of a different person in each chapter. And some of those lives were pretty dark. Almost right away we find out one of the characters had both her uncle and cousin forcing themselves on her before her mother found out and sent her to her aunt's house for being bad. We see quite a few people in awful situations throughout the book.
And while some of these stories were interesting, I also felt irritated as I read all of these stories that kept providing no answers to what happened to Tommy. I picked up the story to find out what happened to Tommy, but ended up feeling like I had been tricked into reading something else entirely. And in the end we learn(show spoiler)
The book wasn't bad, and I really did find quite a few of the chapters interesting. I was just expecting something else from the book, which led to my disappointment when the book failed to deliver.