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Starting Over

Cover of The Ethan I was Before
A review of The Ethan I was Before by Ali Standish

Ethan and his family are getting a fresh start in the hot, coastal town of Palm Knot, Georgia, or at least they are trying to. While there's a promise of finding new friends and rebuilding family relationships, Ethan's guilt of who he was and what he did continues to haunt him. Whispered phone calls at night, family secrets and the secrets of his possible new best friend, Coralee, ultimately contribute to Ethan's understanding of the importance of remembering and forgiveness. This is a capably written story that discusses death, forgiveness, and the effects of guilt on a young mind. The author explores complicated emotions and how one can come to terms with themselves and others. Death is usually a heavy topic to read but this is written with such engaging characters and a gentle unfolding of several story lines that it made me not want to put the book down. An excellent read for middle grades and up.

May 4, 2018