Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne
The small coastal town of Neptune, NJ, is thrown for a loop when flamboyant and flashy Leonard, 14, arrives to live with the Hertle family. His cousin Phoebe, 15, resents his inclusion and watches with annoyance as he proceeds to join the high school drama crowd and give her mother's beauty parlor clients makeovers of body and mind. When Leonard goes missing, Phoebe begins to realize that she had not been able to see beyond his six-inch platform sneakers; his love for others and his desire to be loved in return touched the people of Neptune more deeply than anyone had expected. As she struggles to make sense of his disappearance, she leans on Travis, her wrong-side-of-the-tracks boyfriend who had at an earlier time accosted Leonard.