The quiet peace of Avery Academy located in upstate Vermont, was shattered with the appearance of a videocassette showing three teenaged boys and a younger, fourteen year old girl engaged in assorted sex acts. Headmaster Mike Bordwin was further shocked with the realization that all the kids involved were Academy students. What began as an attempt to contain the incident rapidly escalated into a media feeding frenzy. By the time the investigations were concluded, one boy was dead, several lives irreparably changed, marriages broken and the public trust in a fine educational institution destroyed.
The story plays out from the perspectives of the students and families involved with the incident and their responses to a questionnaire sent from a researcher with the University of Vermont. The result is an intimate look at the forces that drove each participant to act the way they did, the effects of those actions and how their lives were changed forever. Shreve has penned a compelling look at the high price of betrayal and redemption in her best work to date.
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