From School Library Journal
Gr 11 Up-This book has the pacing of a Stephen King movie, and it never lets up on the gruesomeness. Ry Burke's boyhood was riddled with brutal abuse and near death at the ruthless hand of a father whom he referred to as the monster. As Ry became older, his father's violence intensified. Then one morning, after being told not to bother his mother because she was sick, Ry knew that something was wrong and proceeded to investigate. What he saw caused him to make a courageous decision that would forever change his life and his family's. Flash-forward some years later to the '80s, and readers find 19-year-old Ry's father in prison and his mother and younger sister using the countdown to a forthcoming meteorite crash as a diversion from the grim existence on their barren family farm. When they find out that there was an explosion at the prison and that the father has escaped and is headed home to seek revenge, the news shatters Ry's fragile psyche, forcing him to resurrect a trio of imaginary childhood friends (the all-knowing Jesus Christ, kind and gentle Mr. Furrington, and bloodthirsty Scowler) for protective support. The metaphor of the meteorite countdown enhances the tense, dark, and creepy chill factor of this gritty, well-written thriller. It's a perfect choice for mature horror readers who are looking to bridge the gap between YA and adult selections.-Sabrina Carnesi, Crittenden Middle School, Newport News, VAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Editor’s note: It is Booklist policy that a book written or edited by a staff editor receive a brief descriptive announcement rather than a full review. In 1981, 19-year-old Ry Burke yearns to escape the dying Iowa farm that he shares with his mother and sister. The family’s tenuous peace is shattered by two shocking events: a meteorite’s crash arrival in the farm’s fields and the prison-break return of Ry’s father, whose monstrous physical and emotional abuse led to his incarceration. To help fight his father, the damaged Ry is forced to resurrect three imaginary childhood protectors: Mr. Furrington, Jesus Christ, and Scowler. Kraus’ third novel defies easy classification in a boldly visceral coming-of-age story that explores the darkest spaces in family life and the shocking resilience of the human psyche. Grades 9-12. --Gillian Engberg