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Gr 9 Up–Dylan Dawson, 17, is trying to stay on the right path. After a stint in juvenile hall for possession of stolen property, he's keeping his distance from gang activity and wants to do well at his job. However, it seems everything is going against him: a dad in prison, an alcoholic mom, and, on top of that, he can't read. He seeks solace in poems, and in Jess, a rich-girl love interest. Inevitably, he finds himself in a bad situation, running from the law and the gang, and headed to Texas to discover the truth about his father's trangression and his unknown past. Dean deftly portrays Dylan's tough-guy exterior along with his soft side through the poetry that floats in his head and is interspersed throughout the novel. The supporting characters, including a loyal but none-too-wise best friend and surly grandmother, are well drawn and believable. The story moves quickly as the mystery of Dylan's father's crime unfolds, partially revealed through chapters of a memoir the man wrote in prison and spurred on by his impending execution. At times, the book's message is a bit too obvious, but readers will empathize with Dylan, who is sincere in a desire to reform but can't seem to escape his circumstances.–Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Seventeen-year-old Dylan's father is about to be executed for shooting a policeman 11 years earlier, and Dylan is determined to get to his dad's Texas prison to say goodbye. Dylan and his friend are also on the run: from the police, for violating probation after serving time in juvie, and from gangsters. Dylan's long, first-person narrative spins out a plot that gets more and more convoluted, with dramatic vignettes that flip between past and present as Dylan hides that he can barely read, hooks up with sexy Jess, takes on his fierce grandmother, and confronts his own guilt. Jess is too perfect to be true, but the family secrets create powerful drama. Is Dad protecting someone? Why does Dylan remember handling the gun when he was six years old? What really happened that night? Dylan's doubts reinforce the universal father-son tensions and the horror of capital punishment as tension builds to the execution by lethal injection. Grades 9-12. --Hazel RochmanSee all Editorial Reviews
Cover: Do not be fooled by the cover. This is not a romance novel.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Read more
If your looking for any happiness don't read this book. I wish I could take back the time I spent reading it.Published 17 months ago by Kandace Berool
Amazing how the author can have you so enthralled in the character. Even though the character is not publicly seen as a good person, you see the good qualities in the character... Read morePublished 21 months ago by kcreech
I love books with a really interesting storyline otherwise I can't stick with them. This book was wonderful. Definitely recommendPublished 21 months ago by Stefanie Stevens
I got this book looking for a new teen romance novel and wound up falling into a book that teaches a lesson. Read morePublished on July 12, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Great book! Read it a time or two before and it is a great topic to write about! Can't wait to havve it for my friends to read.Published on June 24, 2013 by Doris Hanks
The "teen" label on this is not fair. While it could appeal to teens, and will appeal to teens, I would highly recommend this piece of work to anyone that likes a... Read morePublished on February 22, 2013 by Danny
Dylan is trying hard to live down his past, and he's trying even harder to help his best friend Wade stay on the right path as well. Read morePublished on October 25, 2012 by Andrea @ The Busy Bibliophile
This was so good. I'm rather surprised by how much deeper, darker, and serious than I thought it would be. Read more