North Fork

Dreams of escape from her privileged but empty life are only fantasies until Kristen finds a Canadian birth certificate under her mother's jewelry box. Kristen has no memories of her early childhood or her biological father. Her stepdad controls her secretive mother, and Kristen cuts on herself. Even her best friend, Natalie, doesn't know she is haunted by thoughts of suicide. The questions raised by the birth certificate are so unsettling that Kristen decides to run away.

Corey was alone the night that Kristen ran away. He has a past and he is known as a trouble maker. He is blamed by both the authorities and kids in school for having murdered Kristen, though her body has not been found. Even his mother believes he is guilty. Natalie, who has her own reasons to despise Corey, grieves for Kristen and also blames Corey.

But Kristen has crossed into Canada and is making a new life for herself, unaware what is happening in her absence back in Washington state. She finds a kind of peace she's never experienced, until what started as an innocent relationship with an older man becomes dangerous. Now, stalked by a real predator, she must decide whether to stay and resolve her new problem or return home and confront her former life.

The three main characters tell their stories separately as first-person written responses to an English class assignment to keep a personal journal. Each struggles to face life with integrity while entangled in a web of difficult situations. To triumph, each must confront the challenge of forgiveness.

Wayne M. Johnston of Fidalgo Island, WA

Wayne M. Johnston taught English, Creative Writing and Publications at La Connor High School in Washington state for nineteen years. Prior to that, he worked on tugboats for twenty-two years, usually as chief engineer, towing freight barges between Canadian and American ports. In 2011, he won the Soundings Review First Publication Award for his essay, "Sailing." For his debut novel, Northfork, he drew from his years of experience in reading student journals to reproduce the way kids voice serious matters to a trusted adult. He lives with his wife, Sally, on Fidalgo Island where he is working on another book.

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