Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 14 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
Told from the split viewpoints of Liv and Jory, Kate A. Boorman's What We Buried is a psychological thrill ride that deftly explores how memories can lie, how time can bend, and how reconciling the truth can be a matter of life or death.
“Do you ever just want to be believed?”
Siblings Liv and Jory Brewer have grown up resenting each another. Liv—former pageant queen and reality TV star—was groomed for a life in the spotlight, while her older brother, Jory, born with a partial facial paralysis, was left in the shadows. The only thing they have in common is contempt for their parents.
Now Liv is suing her mom and dad for emancipation, and Jory views the whole thing as yet another attention-getting spectacle. But on the day of the hearing, their parents mysteriously vanish, and the siblings are forced to work together. Liv feels certain she knows where they are and suspects that Jory knows more than he’s telling…which is true.
What starts as a simple overnight road trip soon takes a turn for the dangerous and surreal. And as the duo speeds through the deserts of Nevada, brother and sister will unearth deep family secrets that force them to relive their pasts as they try to retain a grip on the present.
About the author
Kate A. Boorman is an award-winning writer from the Canadian prairies. She is the author of the Winterkill series; Winterkill, Darkthaw and Heartfire. She was born in Nepal, grew up in the small town of Rimbey, Alberta, and now lives in Edmonton, where she wrangles her family and schemes up travel to faraway lands. Kate has a MA in Dramatic Critical Theory and has held an odd assortment of jobs, from accordion accompanist to qualitative research associate. She has a fondness for nature, though birds tend to worry her a great deal.
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"Every page invites new questions about what is happening and what is real, sucking readers into a funhouse world they will not want to escape...[C]ompulsively entertaining."—VOYA, Starred Review
"Vexing, poignant, and thought-provoking." —Kirkus
"Perceptive." —Publishers Weekly
"This story, of a brother and sister's journey through their pasts and into their futures, makes for haunting, shocking reading."—Booklist
"A disintegrating distinction between life and death is a known marker of mental meltdown, but also of spirits haunting the scene of a crime. What We Buried skillfully alternates the two sides every story has, unafraid of clarity with one foot in bafflement."—The Center for Fiction
"Keep[s] readers on their toes all the way up to the intense ending, but the emotional reconciliation, which is clearly what’s been at stake here all along, enables a sense of just desserts for all involved." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The key to a truly successful mystery/detective story is the author’s clever use of misdirection, and in What We Buried, Boorman succeeds masterfully...[A] great read, one that will definitely play with readers’ minds." —CM Magazine