During a class project in Kindergarten, the narrator learns that their penpal experiment is more than it seems. The entire class sends a balloon with a letter attached off to the ether, hoping that someone will write them back with a picture of where they live. After a long while the narrator receives a letter, and a picture, but the picture doesn't make any sense. This continues and the narrators mother becomes frightened. The reader learns throughout the story that his neighbor might have been murdered, and several other horrifying things that probably happened throughout the years as he grew up. Finally, his mother tells him the whole truth, ending with the disappearance of his best friend.
There are quite a few people who don't like this book due to the writing style or the storytelling, but I enjoyed this novel. Well, enjoyed may be a strong word for it as I did become annoyed at times, but the length the story went through to keep things from me was fantastic. It had a creepy factor that I haven't really received from many books in the past few years. Most novels didn't have me checking the locks on my doors, or making sure all of my windows were shut properly. Most novels don't have me looking around at my surroundings as I wonder who might be watching me.
There was something about this novel that made me want to keep reading to learn what really happened, who was the bad guy, how was it all going to end? There were times that I felt the story was too much, and the main character was too annoying - both in negative ways. I wanted more from the book, I wanted more details. It was a fast read, but the ending didn't satisfy me as much as I would have liked.
I wanted to know the who and the why, but maybe there wasn't an answer to that because maybe there aren't always answers. Either way, it was a good book, and I do recommend it. You might not want to read it at night, alone in your house, with most of the lights off.