This took a bit of effort to read, especially at the beginning. The book is split between chapters of a first-person narrative by Cullen Witter, a teenager in the small town of Lily, Arkansas, and third-person narratives of other characters that influence the story. The problem with this structure is that at first, there doesn't seem to be any relation between the two stories, so it's a bit difficult to get invested as you're jumping back and forth between the descriptions of one boy's summer boredom and a young missionary's work in Ethiopia. I actually put this book down and read a couple other books when I first started it, and then decided to pick it up again to see if I would like it more.
So the conclusion is, that it was a good story that came together in the end, well written, and with interesting characters. But it's just one that didn't speak to me personally, and there's a constant sense of passivity to everything that made it a bit boring at times.
A couple things that frustrated me (not about the book, but more about characters): Why Neil never came forward about telling a random stranger where Cullen lived on the day that his brother disappeared, and also Alma not coming forward with her ex-husband being in town that day (when she also mentioned to him that she had a date with Cullen)! Gah, this could've gotten solved! But I do feel bad for Lucas, because I think that he might think it was his fault Gabriel got taken, as the double date was his idea. I'm also wondering how Cullen would take learning that he was the actual desired kidnappee and his brother suffering for it.