The Wanderers by Sarah Barkoff

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SKU 978-1-77339-989-8
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When eighteen-year-old Sosie Friedman's mother dies in a horrific car crash, rumors around her small beach town swirl that the accident was really a suicide-plot gone awry. Desperate to prove the gossipers wrong, she digs into her mother’s past and uncovers clues that suggest her mother wasn’t who she pretended to be.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, she connects with a school acquaintance, a quiet but thoughtful loner, who introduces her to his small group of friends. Swept into their curious world, she embarks on a road trip with them to escape Sandy’s destruction—and to discover a man who may hold clues to her mother's death. But like the shoreline under the lashing winds and rain, her reality starts disintegrating before her eyes the more she learns. When she wakes up in the aftermath of a car crash eerily reminiscent of her mother’s, her new friends are nowhere to be found.

Sosie must now piece together evidence to explain her mother’s death, or risk suffering a similar fate.

14+ due to adult situations

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Excerpt:

I don’t make it out of my mother’s room before the light flickers, bright then dim, bright then dim, until the power goes out all together. The wind outside sounds like a choir of whistlers, hissing back and forth, each time getting louder then softer. I wobble over to my mother’s bedroom window and peer out, but there’s nothing on the other side, just a backdrop of pure blackness. I hear the branches on trees lashing about, but I can’t see them. Absolutely nothing but darkness stares back at me. My fingertips touch the glass, longing to go outside, like a grounded child who’s been punished from recess. I collapse to the floor, my body hitting the ground in a thud, tears of frustration streaming down my hot cheeks.

My cell phone buzzes in my pocket, and I pray it’s not my father following up to see if I’ve gone to stay at a friend’s house. Then again, who am I kidding? According to his crappy daddy standards, he’s more than surpassed his fatherly duties for the week when he took time out of his important life to call the cops when he couldn’t reach me or when he, gasp, had to call out of work. He’s probably sitting in his hotel room in London, having a bottle of red wine until he passes out cold, and thinking about what fuck up I am.

I glance at my phone. It’s not my father or Johnny. It’s a text message from a number I don’t recognize. For a split second, I consider ignoring it, but there’s a far-fetched hope in the back of my mind that hopes its Nolan. I don’t know why. There’s nothing to give me any indication that it could be. He probably doesn’t even know my name or who I am, but hope has a funny way of playing tricks on my brain, especially when I’ve been drinking and taking pills.

In the darkness where I sit on the dusty floor, my phone illuminates the room. I click into the message, and turn the sound all the way up. There’s the haunting sound of the crunching. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. I know instantly it’s Shira’s video from the bathroom. But this time I see images, someone’s feet, leather tattered work boots, and they’re trudging through heavy weeds and dead leaves. The camera shifts to the man’s face, but only for a moment. He’s got a black mustache, and pitted skin like craters on the moon. He’s not saying anything at first. There’s only breathing, rapid gasps like he’s nervous and trying to take in more air to steady himself. The footage moves to a mangled car.

A car I know, my mother’s car.

It’s totaled, the entire thing smashed like it went through a garbage compacter. Then, even though I know it’s coming, the man says the words I’m dreading. “Wowza, that must’ve hurt. She’s not so pretty anymore.” My stomach lurches once I hear it, but nothing prepares me for what I see next.

It’s her. She’s wearing that red and yellow flowered dress that I can still picture her in, just as I had the night she died before she kissed me on the cheek and walked out the door forever, the flowy fabric fluttering behind her as she got into her car and left. But the dress looks nothing like my memories. It’s ripped apart and filthy, parts of it burned, and exposing her bra and the bare, bloodied skin on her décolleté. The camera shifts some more, closes in on an image I never should’ve seen, something that’s bound to haunt me for the rest of my life.

“No, no, no, no,” I wail, throwing my phone across the room with such force that it hits the wall, and explodes into a million pieces. I’m seething, hysterical, and my entire head is on fire. I’m shrieking as I sit there in the dark, like I’m in the middle of a horror flick, and a masked murderer has just discovered where I’m hiding. I don’t realize I’m still screaming until my voice gives out, my mouth still open but nothing coming out anymore.

There’s disbelief in my utter panic, like I can’t believe what I’ve just seen. I don’t know what sick person would send something so horrific to me, but if I ever find out, I’ll wrap my hands around their throat until they stop breathing.

Outside the wind is howling, and storm sirens wail through the air. All I want is to get away from myself, this house, my life, but this storm is bringing everything to a halt, trapping me in this hell. Because there’s no other escape, I choke down more pills while the tears pour down my cheeks, and then after a while, stumble back to my mother’s writing desk for a pen and paper. I light dozens of tea lights around the room, on the floor around her bed, on her dresser, bedside table, desk, and then sit down to write.

Product Reviews

Score: 5 out of 5 (based on 4 ratings)
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5/5
Couldn't go to bed until finishing this book!
Written by amazon on 27th Jun 2019

I finished this book in a day! Holy twist I didn't see coming! Sosie, you will stay with me for a long time.

5/5
The Wanderers
Written by Richard on 27th Jun 2019

This is a fantastic read. The read grabbed me right from the beginning until the end its a real page turner. I love how the Author brought out the Characters. And surrounding. So you could see the scenes in your minds eye perfectly. Sosie has been through the ringer and is trying to find out secrets about her family. During the time that terrible weather has affected the area. This is right up there with Divergent. This is definitely a must read. Shauna Joesten

4/5
Shocking twist!!
Written by Christy Hancock on 27th Jun 2019

The Wanderers is truly a book about understanding mental illnesses or to me it was. It was an eye opener for me because I guess I never really though about the struggle someone goes through that has a mental illness. My heart bled for Sosie and what she went through. This is a great read! Definitely would recommend it!

4/5
Good story with twists and turns...
Written by Amanda Lyons on 23rd Jun 2019

The Wanderers follows Sosie Friedman's life and her struggles after her mother passes away in a car accident. She uses alcohol and drugs as a way to numb the pain and block the rumors surrounding her mothers death. When Sosie finds a photo of her mother with a mysterious man that's not her father, she sets out to find out who he is with the help of her new friends. But things take a drastic change after Sosie gets into a car accident and the cops start asking questions. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was well written. It focuses on friends, family, and the importance of mental health.