Praise for What They Always Tell Us

"The writing, which at first seems straightforward...becomes increasingly layered as it dispenses its information, gradually and ever more movingly...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. The structure literally allows readers to see both sides."
—Booklist (starred review)
"Bold...Wilson's debut novel fulfills its young-adult literature duty in terms of uplifting messages, but I think it fulfills a deeper duty to teen readers. Alex's and James' stories are much more relevant to the high school experience than the typical teen read...It's definitely required reading for those awkward 16-year-olds...who just don't fit in and can't imagine making it out of their small towns alive."
—The Austin Chronicle
"Captivating...Teens lucky enough to find it in the library...will tune in to the perfect pitch of its adolescent voice."
—Richard Labonte, Bookmarks
"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
"Set in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Wilson's searching debut maintains a level of urgency as it explores the bonds between two brothers...Well-observed details shore up the Southern backdrop, important for the social networks that bind the characters and inform their actions. Insightfully evoked, Alex, James and their friends will leave a lasting impression on readers."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"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

"Smoothly written and psychologically astute, this story eloquently charts the cross-currents between social status, loyalty and brotherly love."
—Kirkus Reviews
"An evocative, sensitively told tale of two brothers from Alabama...Wilson's debut is a winner."
—Chronogram Magazine
"Martin Wilson has not only captured the fragility, the fearfulness and bravado of adolescence, but also his characters' generosity, compassion, and tenderness."
—Mark Spragg, author of An Unfinished Life
"This is a refined and sensitive account of two brothers in the midst of figuring out who they've been and who they want to be."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Martin Wilson's riveting debut novel offers a complex exploration of sibling bonds."
—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Given Wilson's sharp eye for high school reality, the true feat in his debut novel is that he crafts a strikingly fresh story from that well worn terrain, finding the exceptional lurking in the shadows of the everyday. . . . Wilson's prose is straightforward but powerful, so void of melodrama and over-reaching that its beauty sneaks up on you. . . . But most importantly, perhaps, Wilson offers pitch perfect characters."
—Black Warrior Review
"There are plenty of coming-of-age novels on the shelves, but there's always room for one as well rendered and moving as What They Always Tell Us."
—Out Magazine
"In its portrait of two brothers, the novel . . . offers an uplifting look at the challenges to--and triumphs of--family loyalty. . . . What They Always Tell Us reaches a happy ending that feels earned by both brothers, natural and utterly optimistic."
—Nashville Scene
"A tender exploration of first love"
—The Horn Book Magazine

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