It is so fine when a book's cover grabs you like this one's does. I haven't even read it yet, but I want to.
And, as I look into the blurbs and reviews, I can see how the image telegraphs the heart of the story.
Here's a blurb from Martin Wilson's blog:
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.Lot's of good reviews, too (here and here, for example).
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.