I was first introduced to Emerson’s work with his Cybils finalist Last Day on Mars, and went on to read the rest of the series, so I was very excited to have a chance to participate in the blog tour for this book and share it with you, dear readers!
by Kevin Emerson.
Walden Pond Press, 2022.
Review copy kindly sent by the publisher.
About the Book
From the acclaimed author of the Chronicle of the Dark Star comes a riveting mystery, perfect for fans of Stranger Things, about a girl who sets out to find her missing best friend—and discovers her small town is hiding a dark, centuries-old secret.
Jovie is adrift. She’d been feeling alone ever since her best friend, Micah, left her behind for a new group of friends—but when Micah went missing last fall, Jovie felt truly lost.
Now, months later, the search parties have been called off, and the news alerts have dried up. There’s only Jovie, biking around Far Haven, Washington, putting up posters with Micah’s face on them, feeling like she’s the only one who remembers her friend at all.
This feeling may be far closer to the truth than Jovie knows. As strange storms beset Far Haven, she is shocked to discover that Micah isn’t just missing—she’s been forgotten completely by everyone in town. And Micah isn’t the only one: there are others, roaming the beaches, camped in the old bunkers, who have somehow been lost from the world.
When Jovie and her new friend Sylvan dig deeper, they learn that the town’s history is far stranger and more deadly than anyone knows. Something disastrous is heading for Far Haven, and Jovie and Sylvan soon realize that it is up to them to save not only Micah, but everyone else who has been lost to the world and set adrift—now, in the past, and in the future.
About the Author
Kevin Emerson is the author of Last Day on Mars and The Oceans Between Stars, as well as The Fellowship for Alien Detection, the Exile series, the Atlanteans series, the Oliver Nocturne series, and Carlos Is Gonna Get It. Kevin lives with his family in Seattle. You can visit him online at www.kevinemerson.net.
Drifters is big, meaty book, with interesting and well-developed characters. It has a relatively complex structure, with sections of the main narrative divided by reports of “trials” in 1898, 1962, and 1994. The main narrative, in turn, is split between Jovie’s story, in 2018, and Sylvan’s story in 2022, though both characters appear in each others’ stories. This inspired more curiosity than confusion in me – what were the trials? How would the stories eventually link up?
The comparison to Stranger Things is apt, as people are disappearing, but only the children seem to realize that something is really wrong. The adults know that things aren’t good, but more or less unconsciously believe that it’s their own fault for living in a dead-end town like Far Haven. There’s mist and darkness, unusual friendships forged in extreme circumstances, and a creeping feeling of dread and time running out.
Underneath all of the dealings with the supernatural is a very real look at the harm that isolation and depression can cause. Jovie (who, like the other main characters in the book, appears to be white) herself has been in a tough place since her parents divorced, leading to financial and food insecurity as her mother works two full-time jobs. She’s now searching for Micah in the few minutes she can squeeze out around school and her own part-time job. Trying to support a friend in crisis while still dealing with your own problems and avoiding isolation yourself is a tricky balancing act, even if there are no supernatural elements involved – but I’d argue that reading about within this setting is a lot more fun.
The only real fault I could find in this book is the length – 560 pages is a lot for less proficient readers. Fortunately, it’s also available on audiobook, for those who (like my kids) find that format easier. For readers like my child self, whose main problem was running out of reading material, spending more time with these characters is a positive.
DRIFTERS Blog Tour
5/9/22 Nerdy Book Club @nerdybookclub
5/10/22 Bluestocking Thinking @bluesockgirl
5/11/22 Charlotte’s Library @charlotteslibrary
5/13/22 Maria’s Mélange @mariaselke
5/16/22 Teachers Who Read @teachers_read
5/23/22 Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers @grgenius
5/31/22 Unleashing Readers @unleashreaders