Sixteen-year-old Pelly has a master plan. After years of therapy, medication, and even a stint in a mental hospital, she’s finally ready to re-enter the world of the living. Pelly has been suffering from severe panic attacks ever since her best friend, Tara, disappeared from a mall six years ago.
And her plan seems to be working, until an unkempt girl accompanied by an older man walks into the coffee shop where she works. Pelly thinks she’s seen a ghost, until the girl mouths “help me” on the way out, and Pelly knows she’s just seen Tara.
Too shocked to do anything, Pelly helplessly watches Tara slip away again as she steels herself against a renewed spiral of crippling anxiety. But rather than being overcome by anxiety, Pelly feels more energized than she has in years. Determined to track down enough evidence to force the police to reopen Tara’s file, Pelly’s master plan takes a turn for the dangerous.
Pelly decides she cannot be shackled by her past—and the anxiety, fear, and grief that comes with it—any longer if she wants to save Tara. But in seeking answers through whatever means necessary, she’ll come face-to-face with true evil. And not all the shackles are in her head…
Praise for SHACKLED
“The story is short and fast-moving, and suspense builds quickly as Pelly puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations with only half-baked plans for getting out of them. Pelly’s anxiety and strategies for managing her mental health—cutting herself, snapping a rubber band, smoking—are well-integrated into her character; this is a book about a person not an issue.” ~ Kirkus
~ The way Pelly describes her symptoms are a matter of personal experience by Tom, who suffered with a severe panic disorder for many years.
~ The novel grew from an unfinished story Tom began writing while working as a library aide in the mid-90s. The main character (who became Pelly) worked over the summer at a public library in a small town.
~ The last name of one of the adults in the novel comes from the director of the film Giant Spider Invasion, a poster of which Tom has on the wall in his office. It has a certain quality to it he felt served that particular character quite well (with no offense to the director intended!).
~ Parts of the novel are set near the fictional town of Tom’s novel Random.