Some time later, the only bright spot in Stephen's life is extinguished when his sister dies from a drugs overdose, leaving him to lead an increasingly successful but depressed existence at school. At an open day in his final year Stephen tries to discuss his sister's death with his parents but they are unsympathetic and even try to blame him for the tragedy.
That removes his last trace of hope, and he goes off to the boathouse where he slings a rope over a beam and tries to hang himself. He immediately regrets it, and is surprised to find that someone is there in time to rescue him, take the noose from his neck and look after him. And so begins a series of strange events in Stephen's life.
It would be wrong to reveal more of the plot. This is a ghost story with a twist and telling too much would spoil the tale. Whether it is because Maureen Johnson's The Boy in the Smoke was written for young adults, or because of the narrative itself, is hard to say, but it is an uplifting book. It would certainly be a great recommendation for anyone who is feeling depressed.
It was released for just £1 a copy in time for World Book Day last week, or you can download it as an ebook here: https://www.hotkeybooks.com/books/detail/the-boy-in-the-smoke
It's only 86 pages, but easily worth a pound of anyone's money.