The Innocents is a classic coming-of-age set among a group of friends: three brothers and two girls.
When the death of George (or Go-Go), the youngest of the clan, brings the friends together for the first time in more than 20 years, they are forced to face up to the secrets they all tried to leave behind. Growing up in the 1970s, the group found themselves bored and unsupervised during the long summer holidays, so they would intensely investigate the world around them. Venturing further and further into the local woodland, the friends eventually stumble across a man living alone in a run-down shed on the far outskirts of the woods. The children bring him food and clothing and embrace him as their 'secret', and though they never ask his name they call him Chicken George.
One evening, as a hurricane is approaching, one of the girl’s mothers puts out the alert that her daughter Mickey is missing. When the other children find her with Go-Go, standing over the unconscious body of Chicken George, the lives of all their families, change forever.
Laura Lippman creates a brilliantly idyllic childhood and breaks it down bit by bit, uncovering the lies children tell and the lengths their parents will go to protect them. Although it does take quite a while to build into a story that grabs you, once it does it doesn't let you go. Written from the perspective of both parents and children, during the 1970s and modern day, The Innocents gives a set of expertly crafted perspectives to an event that changes every single one of the characters.