Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
An unusual mystery, a heartrending love story, this is an exciting plot-driven new book from leading Canadian YA author William Bell.
Fifteen-year-old Aidan has had more foster parents than he cares to remember. Careful to always keep his distance from those around him, and aided by a deep well of self-reliance and tenacity, he longs for the day that he's old enough to strike out on his own.
That day comes sooner than he could ever have imagined. On a miserable March afternoon, Aidan's life is changed so radically as to become unrecognizable. Through a near-tragic event in which he saves the life of a young boy, Aidan earns the gratitude and unqualified support of the child's grandfather, Mr. Bai, a man of wealth, great resources and shadowy influence. When asked how this man can help repay him, Aidan replies, "Can you make me disappear?"
With a new identity, an apartment, a job and finally a sense that he's crafting his own destiny, Aidan--now Julian Paladin--finds himself at the centre of forces he can't begin to understand. Who exactly is Mr Bai and who are the mysterious women that come and go without a trace in the apartment below? How did Julian find himself taking on a job surveilling a university student and her possibly abusive boyfriend? And, the most potent mystery of all: how can he ever be without the bewitching and beautiful Ninon, who reveals a dimension of life Julian had never thought possible.
Julian is part detective story, part romance, and part quest for a life of independence and meaning.
About the author
William Bell was born in Toronto in 1945 and went to school there until he graduated from the College of Education in 1970. Until 2002 he was a high school English teacher and department head in Ontario. Bell also taught at the Harbin University of Science and Technology, the Foreign Affairs College (both in China), and the University of British Columbia. He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Literature and a Master of Education degree. Bell's Young Adult novels have been translated into nine languages and have won a number of awards. Bell lives in Orillia, Ontario, with author Ting-xing Ye.
"An enthralling, unpredictable novel that will please its YA audience and captivate many adult readers as well. . . . Bell has crafted a complex, rich, and realistic protagonist and a well-developed world. . . . a powerfully impressive piece of storytelling that is much greater than the sum of its parts: alternately thrilling, heartbreaking, and affirming."
―Quill & Quire, starred review
"A compelling mystery/love story from prominent Canadian YA author William Bell."