Thoughtful and moving, What they Always Tell Us is a powerful debut novel about the bond between two brothers—and the year that changes everything.

JAMES: Popular, smart, and athletic, James seems to have it all. But the only thing James really wants is his college acceptance letter, so he can get far away from Alabama. In a town where secrets are hard to keep, everyone knows what Alex did at the annual back-to-school party. The only question is why. 

ALEX: With his friends no longer talking to him and his brother constantly in motion, Alex is prepared to get through junior year on his own. And he would, if his ten-year-old neighbor, Henry, didn't keep showing up, looking for company. What Alex cares most about is running, and when he's encouraged to try out for cross-country, he's surprised to find more than just a supportive teammate in his brother's friend Nathen.



“This is clearly one of the best LGBTQ novels of the past decade and a superb work of fiction in any category.”

—Top 250 LGBTQ Books for Teens


“Insightfully evoked, Alex, James and their friends will leave a lasting impression on readers.”

—Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

“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

“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