The Perfect Book to Start the Year With (Plus 18 Others)
Reeling from a personal tragedy, 14-year-old Kevin Gillooly and his mother seek sanctuary with her father, Pops, a shrewd, avuncular veterinarian whom his fellow citizens often turn to for guidance. Kevin finds companionship in Buzzy, a half-wild teenage boy; together they roam the mountains and hollows that surround Medgar, exploring caves and canoeing lakes and basking in Pops's jokes and stories. But their idyll is interrupted by the murder of Mr. Paul, a family friend and gay businessman determined to protect the land from strip mining. In the aftermath, Pops decides to take the boys on a "tramp," a days-long wilderness trek that becomes a harrowing descent into Medgar's heart of darkness.
Scotton tempers his Gothic tale with poignant insights into the crushing weight of loss. In prose as biting as Pops's sour mash whiskey, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth melds beguiling characters with an urgent ecological message.