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Sycamore, May 2017
by Bryn Chancellor

336 pages
ISBN: 0062661094
EAN: 9780062661098
Kindle: B01JYX7MDQ
Hardcover / e-Book
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"Just another pretty small town until a tragedy hits."

Fresh Fiction Review

Bryn Chancellor

Reviewed by Lynn Cunningham
Posted March 8, 2018

Thriller Psychological

Eighteen year old Jess Winters moves with her mother to the small town of Sycamore, Arizona. Her parents' divorce caused her mother to want a fresh start away from her ex-husband and his new family. Jess is not exactly happy about this, but she understands it. Jess is somewhat of a free spirit. She loves to go out for walks at night so she can watch the stars and just think about things. She is doing just that when she vanishes, only this time it is during a terrible rainstorm. The rain does not bother Jess, though. She relishes the way the rain feels on her face. Trying to avoid the flooded streets, she goes to the little diner in town and spends some time there.

Jess is never seen again.

Now, almost twenty years later, remains are found that could very well be those of Jess Winters. The investigation begins once more. In the days that follow, the wait for the identity of these remains to be positive, you will become acquainted with some key people from the past as well as the present. This allows readers to get a grip on all of the events from past to present, which is quite enthralling when you consider that this is a small town and you would not expect so many secrets here.

SYCAMORE is a book filled with secrets and, of course, the main mystery of what happened to Jess is the biggest secret of all. Someone knows the events of that night and they are still living in this small town. It is only through the knowledge of this person that what happened to Jess will ever be revealed.

I found SYCAMORE to be a compelling and captivating book. This story takes you right into the lives of the people residing in Sycamore. If you like to peek into the lives of others, SYCAMORE is the perfect book for you. I honestly did not have any idea what the ending would be and, I daresay, that no one else will, either. This is, of course, one of the best things about SYCAMORE. There are many characters to get to know and you will want to know the story behind each one.

The answer to the questions, including the ones about the identity of the remains as well as what happened to Jess Winters on that long ago stormy night are all answered by the end of the book and you will not be left hanging. While the ending does provide a conclusion for everything, the journey that Bryn Chancellor takes us on to the get there is certainly one of the most mesmerizing of any book. All in all, SYCAMORE is an amazing book. You will be hooked from the first page, just as I was.

Learn more about Sycamore


An award-winning writer makes her debut with this mesmerizing page-turner in the spirit of Everything I Never Told You and Olive Kitteridge. Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore’s longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has soaked into the porous rock of the town and haunted it ever since. In the days it takes the authorities to make an identification, the residents rekindle stories, rumors, and recollections both painful and poignant as they revisit Jess’s troubled history. In resurrecting the past, the people of Sycamore will find clarity, unexpected possibility, and a way forward for their lives. Skillfully interweaving multiple points of view, Bryn Chancellor knowingly maps the bloodlines of a community and the indelible characters at its heart—most notably Jess Winters, a thoughtful, promising adolescent poised on the threshold of adulthood. Evocative and atmospheric, Sycamore is a coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a moving exploration of the elemental forces that drive human nature—desire, loneliness, grief, love, forgiveness, and hope—as witnessed through the inhabitants of one small Arizona town.

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