Rory Miller is being chased by a serial killer causing her family to go into the Witness Protection Program. Taking a short cut home from school that leads through the woods, Rory Miller is attacked by her math teacher, Steven Nell. Escaping, she is brought home by her boyfriend, Christopher. After an investigation, Rory learns that Mr. Nell is a serial killer that has never let a girl escape him before. Rory, her sister Darcy and father are locked in their home under the protection of the FBI.
Rory's home life has been less than stellar of late. Since the passing of her mother, her father, Mr. Miller, has buried himself in work, becoming a cold, distant and hard man. Much of his interaction with his daughters is yelling. Rory and Darcy have also drifted apart. Darcy blames Rory for just about everything that has gone wrong in their lives and now with a serial killer after her sister, she is really angry.
Rory's solace is Christopher, although she is keeping her relationship with him secret. Darcy had dated Christopher for two years before he broke up with her to date her. Rory knows liking Christopher, let alone dating him, is a betrayal to Darcy; but she is unable to stop herself. She has liked him for too long.
Under the protection of the FBI, the Millers are lulled into a false safety. Penetrating the Miller's home, under the nose of the FBI, Steven Nell leaves a rose on Rory's bed. The lead FBI Agent forces the family to leave their home, with little belongings, no phones and nothing that could link them to their old life, to go into the Witness Protection Program.
Under false identities, the Miller's leave their home in a car with a set location programmed into the GPS system. While driving to their new location, their car is driven off the road by a truck. Rory panics, screaming that it's Steven Nell. Both her father and sister, reassure her that it wasn't. Mr. Miller leaves the car to go and find help. After being gone for an extended time, Rory and Darcy decide to look for him. Rory and Darcy are separated and Darcy is murdered by Steven Nell. Rory stumbles across Darcy to find the back of her skull crushed in and not far away from her body, is the body of her father. Before she knows it, Steven Nell is upon her, wielding a knife. Nell stabs Rory in the gut, realizing that as soon as she pulls the knife out, she will bleed out. Making the quick decision, she pulls the knife out and stabs Nell. Nell dies and just as she is going to die, she wakes up, safe and sound in their car.
Arriving at their predestined destination, Mr. Miller drives their car off the ferry and into the small vacationing town of Juniper Landing. Rory is shocked to find there is no Wi-Fi, no cable service, radio stations or newspapers. The only paper available to them on Juniper Landing is a small rag informing the vacationers/town's folk of the town's planned events.
Rory settles into the idyllic life of small town America, making new friends and attending parties that Darcy convinces her to go to. Their torn family is slowly coming around, as Mr. Miller becomes the man he was before the death of Mrs. Miller. The angry, cold, distant man is being replaced by the warm, loving father both girls once knew.
Soon, vacationers are disappearing, including Darcy's new friend, Olive. Items that were worn by the disappearing vacationers turn up in the homes of Rory's new friends. Also, strange things are happening to her sister: she is forgetting people they meet on the island. Frustrated by the lack of help in looking for Olive and how her sister, is forgetting people they've met, Rory tries to figure out what is going on. Rory is blocked at every turn by her two new friends, Tristan and Joaquin. Rory also notices the group of new friends all wear the same worn, leather bracelet.
Rory has not felt completely safe being in Juniper Landing, even though she has been reassured that nothing bad has ever happened there. Traces of Steven Nell can be found on the Island, including a scrap of clothe from his jacket, a knapsack he used as well as hearing the song, “The Long and Winding Road,” his favorite.
One night at a party, Rory and Darcy get into a fight over Christopher. Rory finds out that Darcy knew all along that the two had been dating and disappears into the night. With Darcy missing, Rory calls for help. The whole town is searching for Darcy, but with no luck. Tristan and Joaquin, along with the rest of her new friends, show up at her house. Tristan tells Rory he thinks Steven Nell has Darcy. In agreement, Rory goes with them to get Darcy back.
Arriving at the home where Steven Nell is staying, Rory calls out to him, demanding he free Darcy. Rory and Darcy swap places. Nell attacks Rory but just as she thinks she will die, both Nell and her are hit with a horrible pain. Nell is incapacitated and hauled into the truck while Rory has a back flash of the murder of her father, Darcy and herself.
Rory and Darcy return home and have a long talk. Rory apologizes for dating Christopher and Darcy says there is no reason to apologize: Christopher is the jerk. Rory agrees. Darcy goes into let their father know she is home and to shower. Tristan visits with Rory and it is then that she realizes that everyone on the Island is dead.
Best part of story, including ending:
What I loved about this story, is that you were never sure if the characters were dead until the very end.
Opinion about the main character:
What I loved most about Rory Miller was how loyal a person she was to both her family and her new friend, Olive.
Yuli on 11/14/2015 10:13:34 PM says: I hate that I love this book so much. I'm still confused on how they're dead. Everything seemed so real. Even though things were pretty strange I STILL never had a clue that this would all be fake. So weird.