I read the last lines of the acknowledgment and started to cry.
“Heck, talk to me if you want. My contact info’s on the back cover flap, I usually stay up late. Just, you know, talk to somebody. We’re all in his together.”
This is how Owen Laukkanen ends his latest book The Watcher in the Wall.
It should be required reading in every high school.
On the surface, it’s a great piece of crime fiction that follows Owen’s stars, Stevens and Windermere, through another case. A horrifying story that keeps you hanging on to find out if the good guys win.
But this one’s so much more.
Owen tackles the tragedy of teenage suicide.
I’m not a book reviewer or a counselor so I won’t pretend to speak with that type of authority on either subject. Bookpage is just one of the places where you can read about the story itself.
I am a person that has battled depression and still wages the war. I’ve come very close to taking my own life. I wish I’d read this when I was younger. I’m glad I’ve read it now.
And I’m honoured to know Owen. He’s stepped up and will make a difference.
He’s even hidden all this in a really great book!
Owen, you’re a very creative and clever man.
I got to introduce a young friend to him recently. She’s read his YA book, How To Win At High School (written under the name of Owen Matthews.) She was beside herself to meet him. Owen took the time to connect with her. He’s like that. And I could instantly see how he related to someone still in the throes of figuring out life.
Aside from the superb writing ability, the weird obsession with trains, and the love of a certain dog named Lucy, Owen is a very good man. And handsome. Did I mention that, or have you seen his pictures?
There’s a tiny bit of time when you’re thinking about ending your life and you can be turned. Too many come to that crossroad and never see a different direction. I think Owen, his honesty with his own troubles, and this book, can make you look for another way. A small glimmer that there might be a safe path away from the pain.
I hope Owen will find himself staying up very late once more people read this book.
It will be worth it.