All seventeen-year-old Maggie Warshauer wants is to leave her stifled life in Filliyaw Creek behind and head to college. An outsider at school and uncertain of her own sexual identity, Maggie longs to start again somewhere new. Inspired by a long-dead biologist’s journals, scientific-minded Maggie spends her days sailing, exploring, and categorizing life around her. But when her beautiful cousin Charisse disappears on prom night and is found dead at the marina where Maggie lives, Maggie’s plans begin to unravel. A mysterious stranger begins stalking her and a local detective on the case leaves her struggling to hold on to her secrets—her father’s alcoholism, her mother’s abandonment, a boyfriend who may or may not exist, and her own actions on prom night. As the detective gets closer to finding the truth, and Maggie’s stalker is closing in, she is forced to comes to terms with the one person who might hold the answers—herself.
From the author:
Two different streams, make that three, came together for this book. The first was in the form of notes for a "botanizer novel" that I'd been kicking around, with a young woman wandering in the woods. The second came from my time sailing at Lake Kerr and initiation into marina life. The third arrived when I was moving (yet again) with a chance discovery of an inscription in my senior yearbook. "I hope all our misunderstandings are cleared up. Always remember our great class and me! Love _____" I do not remember the disagreement, but these words summoned all sorts of emotional resonances with teenage conflicts. Everything came together—and as always, the work in progress drew in material from elsewhere in my life. (From an interview in StorySouth.)
Valerie Nieman is a professor of English at North Carolina A&T State University. A former journalist and farmer in West Virginia, she is the author of three novels, as well as collections of poetry and short fiction. She is a graduate of West Virginia University, and she received an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.