Published: 1 August 2017
Publisher: Dial Books
Category: Young Adult/Contemporary
A ripped-from-the-headlines novel that explores the power of being an ally—and a friend—when a kidnapped boy returns to his hometown.
Sam Walsh had been missing for three years. His older sister, Beth, thought he was dead. His childhood friend Josh thought it was all his fault. They were the last two people to see him alive.
Until now. Because Sam has been found, and he’s coming home. Beth desperately wants to understand what happened to her brother, but her family refuses to talk about it—even though Sam is clearly still affected by the abuse he faced at the hands of his captor.
And as Sam starts to confide in Josh about his past, Josh can’t admit the truths he’s hidden deep within himself: that he’s gay, and developing feelings for Sam. And, even bigger: that he never told the police everything he saw the day Sam disappeared.
As Beth and Josh struggle with their own issues, their friends and neighbors slowly turn on Sam, until one night when everything explodes. Beth can’t live in silence. Josh can’t live with his secrets. And Sam can’t continue on until the whole truth of what happened to him is out in the open.
For fans of thought-provoking stories like The Face on the Milk Carton, this is a book about learning to be an ally—even when the community around you doesn’t want you to be.
Rating: 4 Stars
Books about missing kids returning home are terrifying. There are so many questions in a case like that and it’s never certain that the child that went missing is really the one that comes home. Then again, there are cases where the kidnapping isn’t what it seems and the abductor isn’t what/who you’re being led to believe. I’ve read similar books in the past, such as Emmy & Oliver which I did not care for, but the comparison to The Face on the Milk Carton was something that made me curious about We Now Return to Regular Life.
Told through multiple perspectives, including those of Sam’s sister Beth and his friend Josh, the story of Sam’s disappearance and reemergence three years later comes to light. There is a range of feelings from those affected by this initial loss and return, from guilt to confusion to anxiety and, I felt, an underlying bit of terror when confronted with all these feelings. There’s even grief from one character, which was fascinating because that I did not expect.
The pace of the book was a good one in that it didn’t drag like I feared it might. Paired with a character intense narrative, We Now Return to Regular Life was a good book for a weekend read it was that fast. It’s difficult to find books that can stand up under the intensity of burrowing into a book for a limited time read, but while it has some sad/tense moments it was still enjoyable. Be warned that you might have some heart-aching moments while seeing Sam come back different from before and how those around him come to terms with what happened and their part in it and the things that came after Sam’s return.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.