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We Begin at the End



by
Chistopher Whitaker

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Macmillan
Imprint
Henry Holt (Adult)
ISBN
9781250759665

Awards and Honors
2021 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Nominee
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use , Violence: Graphic Descriptions
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Right. Wrong. Life is lived somewhere in between.

There are two kinds of families: the ones we are born into and the ones we create.

Walk has never left the coastal California town where he grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released.

Duchess is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Her mother, Star, grew up with Walk and Vincent. Walk is in overdrive trying to protect them, but Vincent and Star seem bent on sliding deeper into self-destruction. Star always burned bright, but recently that light has dimmed, leaving Duchess to parent not only her mother but her five-year-old brother. At school the other kids make fun of Duchess—her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Rules are for other people. She’s just trying to survive and keep her family together.

A fortysomething-year-old sheriff and a thirteen-year-old girl may not seem to have a lot in common. But they both have come to expect that people will disappoint you, loved ones will leave you, and if you open your heart it will be broken. So when trouble arrives with Vincent King, Walk and Duchess find they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.

Chris Whitaker has written an extraordinary novel about people who deserve so much more than life serves them. At times devastating, with flashes of humor and hope throughout, it is ultimately an inspiring tale of how the human spirit prevails and how, in the end, love—in all its different guises—wins.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Strong Language , Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use , Violence: Graphic Descriptions

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

384

Trim Size

9 3/10" x 6"

Dewey

F

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Aug 2021

Book Genres

Thriller, Detective Story, Mystery

Topics

Dysfunctional families. Ex-convicts. Families. Murderers. Retribution. Revenge. Small cities. California. Police chiefs. Best friends. Small town and rural life.

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–A town that has witnessed a lot of tragedy is home to the people who are still picking up the pieces. Thirteen-year-old Duchess Day Radley, a self-proclaimed outlaw, takes on the responsibilities of raising herself and her younger brother, Robin, while her mother struggles with addiction and tries to live a life that doesn’t continually echo the pain of her sister’s murder nearly three decades earlier. Now, the convicted killer is set to return home to a place that still hasn’t healed, and the ripple effects of each characters’ decisions cause more and more misfortune. The fully developed characters in this novel are raw, real, and relatable; Whitaker makes it easy for readers to recognize someone they know. Duchess’s story is one of resilience, growing up in a less than desired environment, and her foul-mouthed outbursts and Robin’s pure heart provide some levity to a heavy thriller. VERDICT Recommended for high school libraries that need updated coming-of-age stories or less shiny characters full of grit. Cultivated readers will be able to handle the dual narrative along with some mature content and language.–Samantha Hull, Ephrata H.S., PA

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–A town that has witnessed a lot of tragedy is home to the people who are still picking up the pieces. Thirteen-year-old Duchess Day Radley, a self-proclaimed outlaw, takes on the responsibilities of raising herself and her younger brother, Robin, while her mother struggles with addiction and tries to live a life that doesn’t continually echo the pain of her sister’s murder nearly three decades earlier. Now, the convicted killer is set to return home to a place that still hasn’t healed, and the ripple effects of each characters’ decisions cause more and more misfortune. The fully developed characters in this novel are raw, real, and relatable; Whitaker makes it easy for readers to recognize someone they know. Duchess’s story is one of resilience, growing up in a less than desired environment, and her foul-mouthed outbursts and Robin’s pure heart provide some levity to a heavy thriller. VERDICT Recommended for high school libraries that need updated coming-of-age stories or less shiny characters full of grit. Cultivated readers will be able to handle the dual narrative along with some mature content and language.–Samantha Hull, Ephrata H.S., PA

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