This was a really weird book though not that long so I stuck it out until the end. It starts in the 1950s when Willa's mother's new boyfriend brings his two sons to their Salt Spring Island summer home. Actually the boyfriend is not so new - Willa's mother had an affair with him while her father was away at war. They started to spend more time together once Willa's father left.
Willa's older sister Joan falls for the older son, Kenneth, which leaves nine year old Willa to pair off with eleven year old Patrick. Patrick is a sociopath - he starts with burning moth wings under a magnifying glass, then beheads rabbits. As they age, Patrick and Willa's encounters become more and more sexually charged, but always very bizarre.
While Willa actually only encounters Patrick about 6 times over the course of their lives, you can tell it impacts her relationships forever. What is more odd is based on what you can tell, Patrick lived a fairly normal life when he was not with Willa. It seemed they brought out the worst in each other.
The book moves over time through their encounters on Salt Spring Island and in San Diego where the boys reside with their mother most of the time. Their last encounter is on a sailboat excursion which ends tragically (I won't reveal how). While it is a typically weird encounter, at least Willa found her strength that time and had the upper hand.
All in all I wouldn't really recommend this book - it left me feeling a bit disgusted by human behaviour.