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Right Behind You

Right Behind You

4.5 43
by Gail Giles

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When he was nine, Kip set another child on fire. Now, after years in a juvenile ward, he is ready for a fresh start. But the ghosts of his past soon demand justice, and he must reveal his painful secret. How can Kip tell anyone that he really is—or was—a murderer?


When he was nine, Kip set another child on fire. Now, after years in a juvenile ward, he is ready for a fresh start. But the ghosts of his past soon demand justice, and he must reveal his painful secret. How can Kip tell anyone that he really is—or was—a murderer?

Editorial Reviews

"Fans will come away with a greater understanding of redemption and forgiveness."
From the Publisher
Praise for Right Behind You:"

This story explores, with sympathy and compassion, the nature of guilt, atonement and forgiveness."—Publishers Weekly"

Fans will come away with a greater understanding of redemption and forgiveness."—Booklist

Praise for What Happened to Cass McBride?:

-A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
-An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
-An ALA Quick Pick for Young Adults"

Compelling...will be a hit."—School Library Journal

* "Crisply written."—KLIATT (starred review)

Publishers Weekly

Giles (What Happened to Cass McBride?) returns with another riveting nail-biter. Kip and his father live a spartan life in Alaska until nine-year-old Kip, in a jealous rage, sets a neighboring boy afire, killing him. Put in a psychiatric hospital for criminal juveniles, he is released four and a half years later and moves to Indiana with his father and new stepmother. Kip and his family assume new identities (Kip now goes by Wade). As Wade, who is by all accounts observant, articulate and intelligent, struggles with the sins of his past and finding his place in the outside world, he becomes a star swimmer at the school and even gets a girlfriend, who he nicknames "Absolutely Cutest." However, one drunken evening, Wade reveals his secret to his friends and soon after he and his family are forced to relocate once more, this time to Texas. There he finds a kindred spirit in his new neighbor Sam, a beautiful girl who considers herself to be "damaged goods" of a sort, as well. This story explores, with sympathy and compassion, the nature of guilt, atonement and forgiveness. As Giles delicately handles these delicate issues and questions ("Do you get to kill someone and say, 'Oh, really sorry now,' and everything is fine?"), readers should be glued to Wade's story, hoping for his redemption. Ages 15-up. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Ria Newhouse
On the afternoon of Bobby Clarke's seventh birthday, nine-year-old Kip McFarland douses Bobby in gasoline, flips open a lighter, "flick[s] the wheel [and] pitche[s] it onto Bobby Clarke." Three days later Bobby Clarke dies, and Kip spends the next three years in an Alaskan lock-up for teenage delinquents. He spends his days reading the classics, working through "tough stuff" with "the Frown" (his therapist), and vacillating between acting like a "normal" teen and spending time in solitary for inappropriate actions. But just as there is a time for every season, Kip's new season begins when he is released back into civilization. He and his family assume a new identity, move to Indiana, and start over again. Meet Wade Madison. This novel rings through the readers head as a "combination book," merging themes of murder, survival, keeping a secret, swimmer becomes golden, and surviving in the Alaskan wild, as seen respectively in Monster by Walter Dean Myers (HarperCollins, 1999/VOYA August 1999); part Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (Bradbury, 1987/VOYA February 1988); part Joyce McDonald's Swallowing Stones (Delacorte, 1997/VOYA December 1997), part Chris Crutcher's Ironman (Greenwillow, 1995/VOYA June 1995), and even part Ben Mikaelson's Touching Spirit Bear (HarperCollins, 2001/VOYA June 2001). Giles's formula for forgiveness is a little too preachy at times; talking about and admitting to your mistakes does not always bring redemption and/or atonement over the course of a few years. But in Kip's case, ultimate redemption comes not in the form of self-forgiveness but in letting go of regret and self-sabotage. And as the title tells readers, it is often what is right behind that can be the mostdifficult to see.
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up
After setting his seven-year-old neighbor in Alaska on fire, Kip McFarland spends four years in a facility for violent juvenile offenders. When he is released at the age of 14, he, his father, and his new stepmother move to Indiana, with new names. For a while, Wade enjoys a normal life. Eventually, however, despite the warnings of his therapist, he sabotages his happiness in a drunken fit of rage. After he reveals his identity, the town turns on him and his family. Now, a coastal Texas town is their final shot at starting over. The cozy community appears to be a perfect haven, but Wade feels compelled to reveal his past to Sam, the beautiful and mysterious neighbor who is winning his heart-and has a story of her own. Will she still accept him once she finds out he is a murderer? This quick read has a compelling story line, but the characters, especially the adults, are at times one-dimensional, with voices that are somewhat indistinguishable from one another. Reluctant readers will be drawn to the story's accessibility, and many teens will be pulled in by the larger questions the novel poses about innocence and acceptance. Despite its flaws, this book will be a hit with Giles's fans.
—Lynn RashidCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
15 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Gail Giles is the acclaimed author of several psychological drama/suspense novels for teens, including WHAT HAPPENED TO CASS MCBRIDE?, SHATTERING GLASS, DEAD GIRLS DON'T WRITE LETTERS, and PLAYING IN TRAFFIC. SHATTERING GLASS was an ALA "Best of the Best" Book (one of the best 100 books for young readers of the decade), an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an ALA Quick Pick for Young Readers, a Booklist Top Ten Mystery for Youth, and received starred reviews in Booklist and Kirkus. Her most recent novel, WHAT HAPPENED TO CASS MCBRIDE? received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, VOYA and KLIATT and received several citations (see quotes and reviews).

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Right Behind You 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Livs_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
The first person I heard about this book from was Ely. And I have to give her eternal thanks for recommending it. But why has no one else read this? It came out in 2007...not that long ago. If you haven't read this, let me just start out by saying, you should. It's amazing. The novel focuses on Kip/Wade. After his mom dies from cancer (before the book starts), he and his dad are left to live by themselves in the Alaskan bush. Kip is home schooled, he doesn't have a ton of contact with other kids, his dad isn't getting along that well financially, etc. He's a bitter guy. So when Bobby Clarke stops by to show off the fancy-looking baseball glove he got for his birthday, Kip sloshes gasoline on him and lights him on fire. Afterwards, Kip goes into a coma, doesn't talk for months, and is placed in a home for the young and mentally unstable. It was such a great, dramatic beginning for the story. I was immediately hooked. It's not everyday that you read a book about a child murderer. It's really far out of the ordinary. The plot twists and writing style sort of follow the lines of "shock and awe". You get all this drama, trauma, and craziness thrown in your face and you have to make of it what you will. The good part about that is that it's done in a very classy and smooth way. The events in Wade's*** life after the "incident" are all very believable and true to the real-world. Maybe the specific event that this book is based around has never happened (at least I think it hasn't), but if it did, I wouldn't find it hard to believe that what happened in this book would happen in that circumstance. The characters, relationships, and writing add to the awesomeness even more. Wade grew and transformed throughout the book. He learned to love himself, his dad, his stepmom, and the world he lived in. I am in total awe of Gail Giles for being able to write this book through a guy's point of view and pull it off so convincingly. It worked really well. Plus, the message of the story is really deep and intellectual. ""Here's how it goes. The ghost has the truth set out in front of him in a bowl, all ready for him to eat. And he's screaming for it, he's so hungry. But the only thing he has to eat it with is a long spoon. His arms are too short for him to get the truth into the spoon and then into his mouth. So he finds another ghost with the same problem and they sit across from each other and..." "Feed each other," I whispered." Yeah. That's DEEP. With all the context surrounding that passage, I got shivers when I read it. Also, I am super glad I read this book at this point in time because for the application to get into Honors English next year, you have to write an essay on how the author of a book you read recently used a literary element to demonstrate their views on human nature. This book couldn't fit more perfectly. So thank you soooo much to Ely for recommending this. And please, please, please read this if you haven't already. Definitely one of the best books I've read this year, hands down. ***Yes, I'm aware that the name switched. Kip=before murder, Wade=after murder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really great book. I coulndnt stand to put it down. The only downside was the ending. She could have written more about how Sam reacted to Wade/Kip. Otherwise, this book was fantastic.
reader247 More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book randomly to read for a school project. I didn't expect to like it. In fact, I was almost positive I was going to give it back and choose a new one. How wrong I was! I read this book in two days. Kip, the main character, begins the story at nine years old and as the years progress he goes from being nine to fourteen to sixteen. I loved reading about Kip and his struggles. I found myself fighting tears of anger at the injustice of their prejudices towards him. I even found myself rooting for Kip. He was so much more than everyone thought he was. I would highly recommend this book. It's not your typical fiction and it surprised me greatly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kip was a nine-year-old boy who murdered a kid. After about 4 years in a juvenile hall and extensive therapy he is set out into the real world with a new beginning. He has a new name (Wade), new city (Indiana), and a new step-mother (Carrie), but will this help him escape from the demons of his past? At his new school he is the star swimmer, has great friends, a cute girlfriend, and his dad and Carrie love him. But how can he go on living a lie to his friends? Nobody knows who he really is. Although life is great, he feels like he doesn't deserve it because of his past. Gail Giles does an amazing job of keeping you at the edge of your seat and you can't stop reading this book until you get to the end.

I think a lot of young teens can relate to this book. Maybe not in the murdering but in the way high school is portrayed and how one night could change the rest of your life. Wade is just a regular 14-year-old boy, hiding a big secret. I would recommend this book to any teenager.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was incredeible, you get into the book from page one. The only thing I didn't like was the way it ended because it ended so abruptly, so i'm pretty sure there will be a second one BECAUSE of way it ended. I really HOPE!!!!! I've been researching all over the internet to see if there's another one. I HIGHLY reccommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book hits home for me. Back in high school i was very lost and my teacher had me keep this book out of her personal collection and reread the book as many times as i needed to for the entire school year till i realized why she wanted me to read it and understand things can change and be better for me. i have been looking for this book for about 7 years and i finally found it and i promise i wont ever loose this book again. i believe if you are lost this is the book to read having the book told in first person can help you place yourself in Kips place and learn and feel what he is feeling and learning. which will help you with what is going on in your life. this is a must read and i would recommend it to anyone and everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is incredible. Definitely one that can be read multiple times!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i have ever read in my life. It was really good. One i would read ocer again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kinda short but I enjoyed every minute!
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For me, this book started out great and just went downhill from there. I hated the ending as well as Sam's character, but I still highly recommend this book.
Bertie-The-Bear More than 1 year ago
I loved it. I was glued to it from cover to cover. The author (Gail Giles) does a great job of creating the personalities of the characters while surprising me time and time again. I would definetaly recommend it to anyone looking for a great young adult novel.
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KM1169 More than 1 year ago
Im an advid reader, and I really never read books with murder and depressing stuff..but this was great! I really felt for Kip/Wade and his struggles. And I loved the character of Sam! I would recommend this book to guys or girls! So good!! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jen starking More than 1 year ago
Im not much of a reader, but i have to read for school. When i found this book i was amazed. This is by far the best book i hav read so far! It is very suspenseful and will make you not want to stop reading! if you dont like to read, i still reccomend this book. Remember, i didnt lkke to read before i read this book.
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