Ross A McCoubrey, One Boy's Shadow, the nearly perfect novel

Very few books in my lifetime have had me racing home from school, work or hurrying up with chores to return to the world the author created. SE Hinton's The Outsiders and Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat are two novels that immediately come to mind. Now I can add another novel to that list, Ross A. McCoubrey's One Boy's Shadow.  The author has written what may be close to the perfect novel.

Whenever I had to put the novel aside because the real world got in the way I found myself thinking about the main character Caleb constantly and I was anxious to know what was going to happen to him. Ross weaves a compelling story of mystery, of the supernatural and of young love in such an engrossing way that I did not want the story to end. I feel like I know Caleb, his dreams, his anxieties, his desires. I guess you could say I fell in love with him as I expect every reader has.

The story kicks off with Caleb and his older brother Blake, both in their teens, dealing with the potential drama of moving from the city to the country because of their father's new job. Immediately we see that both brothers have a maturity beyond their years and support their parents' decision. Blake, the ever supportive older brother, senses something special, something different about his younger brother Caleb and encourages Caleb to be open about anything on his mind. In the first few chapters we see a strong family working together to build a better future for them all, and all are willing to sacrifice something for the greater good. It's this bond we see over and over again throughout the novel and only strengthens the personalities of the characters. The family finds a wonderful, too good to be true home in the small country town of Stapeton, and they begin to settle in to their new lives. The brothers prepare for the trauma of going to a new school and making friends and fitting in when almost out of the blue Caleb meets Shane…

Shane tells Caleb a story about their community and a missing boy from the 1940s. Caleb listens with great interest, more because of his attraction to Shane, but in the end it's just a myth, spooky stories to tell late at night... Or is it?

As the story unfolds I was on the edge of my seat anxious to find out what happened to the missing boy. It's the perfect novel to curl up with on cold, dark rainy nights but make no mistake, beyond the brilliant mystery and the vivid, strong characters this is a story about love and acceptance.

There are so many things I want to say about this novel, so many things that excited me but I don't want to give anything away. I want everyone to have the experience that I had. I don't think I can describe this book fairly. It is beautiful, it is scary, it is thrilling, it is mysterious, it is tragic, it is powerful. Scenes are written with such lush detail that you feel you are there among the characters. And when the truth is revealed I was both stunned and amazed.

From scary walks in the woods and whispered names drifting out of the wind to school dances and falling in love, it is a novel of literature that I will return to frequently for inspiration. One Boy's Shadow touched me in a way no other novel has and I will be forever grateful for the reward of reading this literary treasure.

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