What They Always Tell Us

What They Always Tell Us

3.93 (4,846 ratings by Goodreads)
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JAMES AND ALEX have barely anything in common anymore--least of all their experiences in high school, where James is a popular senior and Alex is suddenly an outcast. But at home, there is Henry, the precocious 10-year-old across the street, who eagerly befriends them both. And when Alex takes up running, there is James's friend Nathen, who unites the brothers in moving and unexpected ways.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 130 x 203 x 17mm | 249g
  • Bantam Doubleday Dell
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0385735081
  • 9780385735087
  • 151,842

Review quote

"Martin Wilson's What They Always Tell Us hears the voices of the young as they struggle toward adulthood. . . ."
--Richard Peck, Newbery Award-winning author "In his beautifully realized first novel, Martin Wilson demonstrates a wonderful gift for finding the truth in human caring and for creating memorably multidimensional and engagingly sympathetic characters whom readers will welcome into their hearts."
--Michael Cart, former president of the ALA's Young Adult Library Services Association and the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, July 28, 2008:
"Insightfully evoked, Alex, James and their friends will leave a lasting impression on readers." Starred Review, Booklist, November 15, 2008:
"This is a strong debut, and Wilson shows admirable control of a complicated story that in less-accomplished hands could have spun out of control."
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About Martin Wilson

Martin Wilson received a BA from Vanderbilt University, and an MFA from the University of Florida, where one of his short stories won a Henfield Award. This is his first novel. He lives in New York City
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Rating details

4,846 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 36% (1,737)
4 34% (1,633)
3 21% (1,034)
2 6% (293)
1 3% (149)

Our customer reviews

We all have read stories about two siblings who at first get along and then quickly drift apart... with their outcome up to the author. WHAT THEY ALWAYS TELL US has that similar outline; however, Martin Wilson puts his own spin on it and creates a novel more real and even more original than anything else on the shelf currently. We are introduced to two brothers. First there is James, the older brother who excels in all areas, from academics to athletics. Then there is Alex, who is now considered to be the outsider. Because of an attempted suicide at a party, not only did his friends abandon him but also his brother. With this incident, James drifts apart from Alex, unsure of what his brother has become. As their life continues, two unlikely people bring them closer together. First is Henry, the boy next door, who is only ten but has family issues of his own as both parents are hardly there for him. For some odd reason, Alex is drawn to him, wanting to be a guardian toward Henry. Then there is Nathen, James' friend who notices Alex's interest and potential in running. At first just helping him out, Nathen's bond with Alex turns into something that not even James could have guessed at. WHAT THEY ALWAYS TELL US is full of heartwarming and breakout scenes that leaves the reader saying one thing: WOW! Certain scenes, such as when Alex confesses his actions and the reconciliation between the brothers, deserve an Oscar for such amazing writing. Martin Wilson develops all four characters in a way that is satisfying, and the chemistry between each of them is so heartfelt. Words just can't describe how powerful of a read WHAT THEY ALWAYS TELL US is. The only advice I can give you is to pick up the novel and read it (just make sure you have a box of tissues right next to you and an entire free day, because you are not going to want to put this novel down once you start!).show more
by TeensReadToo
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