Different people knew different sides of Joel, and when he dies suddenly, those people step up to tell their stories of him. The six teens closest to him reveal what they knew and mourn what they’ve lost.
Besides living in the same Mormon community in Utah, Tabbatha, Adlen, Miles, Claire, Norah and Lissa have something else in common: each had a special connection to Joel Espen, who died of dehydration after giving away his water during a badly planned Boy Scout expedition. In vignettes showing the six teens differing points of view, first-time author Smith probes into the psychologies of the survivors to demonstrate Joels effect on their lives and their attempts to make sense of his death. Tabbatha, Joels overachieving older sister, accelerates her recovery from the nervous breakdown she suffered before Joel died, telling herself that each new effort is something her brother would have wanted from her; his best friend, a self-proclaimed bad kid, slashes the tires of the Scout leaders truck, using the knife Joel left him.
Cis boys: Joel
Not explicitly mentioned.
Joel dies before the book has started and his story is told through the voices of the other characters.