Fifteen-year-old Aidan has had more foster parents than he cares to remember. Careful to always keep his distance from those around him, and aided by a deep well of self-reliance and tenacity, he longs for the day that he's old enough to strike out on his own.
That day comes sooner than he could ever have imagined. On a miserable March afternoon, Aidan's life is changed so radically as to become unrecognizable. Through a near-tragic event in which he saves the life of a young boy, Aidan earns the gratitude and unqualified support of the child's grandfather, Mr. Bai, a man of wealth, great resources and shadowy influence. When asked how this man can help repay him, Aidan replies, "Can you make me disappear?"
With a new identity, an apartment, a job and finally a sense that he's crafting his own destiny, Aidan--now Julian Paladin--finds himself at the centre of forces he can't begin to understand. Who exactly is Mr. Bai and who are the mysterious women that come and go without a trace in the apartment below? How did Julian find himself taking on a job surveilling a university student and her possibly abusive boyfriend? And, the most potent mystery of all: how can he ever be without the bewitching and beautiful Anne, who reveals a dimension of life Julian had never thought possible?
Julian is part detective story, part romance and part quest for a life of independence and meaning.
WILLIAM BELL's young adult novels have been translated into nine languages and have won a number of awards, among them the Manitoba Readers' Choice Award, the Mr. Christie Book Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, and the Canadian Librarians' Association Award. He lives in Orillia, Ontario, with author Ting-xing Ye.
"An enthralling, unpredictable novel that will please its YA audience and captivate many adult readers as well. . . . Bell has crafted a complex, rich, and realistic protagonist and a well-developed world. . . . a powerfully impressive piece of storytelling that is much greater than the sum of its parts: alternately thrilling, heartbreaking, and affirming."
―Quill & Quire, starred review
"A compelling mystery/love story from prominent Canadian YA author William Bell."