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When a student suggested this to me, I thought I knew what to expect; boy faces tragedy, boy has to move far away to heal, boy makes a new friend to help him get over tragedy. And I was totally wrong. While The Ethan I Was Before has all of those components, they are mixed in with what turns out to be an exciting and spooky mystery/adventure, all laid out beautifully in a novel that goes by so fast you won’t believe it’s 350+ pages. Ethan’s family has just moved from their home in Boston to his grandfather’s place in Georgia hoping that it will help Ethan move on from “the incident”. “The incident”, and Ethan’s feelings and actions as a result, are revealed little by little as you read. This method doesn’t always work for me, but author Ali Standish masterfully lays out just enough detail at just the right time to keep you both invested and curious (a very tricky combo). Good MG mysteries are hard to come by, and The Ethan I Was Before is now at the top of my list. Fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and Absolutely Truly will binge read Ethan in a single sitting. Thank you to Spicer for the recommendation! I loved it, and I hope you will too. #bookreview #theethaniwasbefore #middlegrade #kidlit #readthis #twothumbsup