From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Unexpectedly orphaned, 17-year-old Kidd Ellison finds himself at Horizons, a group home to help rehabilitate kids who have experienced trauma. Alone and lonely, except for a new friend, Devon, a dangerous young man with a death wish, Kidd decides to flee Horizons and his therapy program. He hitchhikes to Cardiff-by-the-Sea where the beach campsite manager, Mr. Red, who's still grieving the loss of his own son, takes Kidd under his wing and offers him a summer job. Kidd's life begins to brighten when he meets beautiful Olivia and a sweet summer romance blossoms. Then Devon appears unannounced and begins to make the moves on Olivia. Kidd instinctively knows he must save her-even if it means killing his best friend. Wisdom says keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but what if the enemy is you? Told in short chapters through journal entries, flashbacks, and real time, de la Peña skillfully captures the slippery sides of a schizophrenic personality in this heartwarming, root-for-the-underdog novel (Delacorte, 2010). Henry Leyva's narration is spot on, especially for confused and trouble Kidd. A great listen!—Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH
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After running away from a group home, 17-year-old Kidd Ellison sets up camp at a beach, where he is put to work by Mr. Red, an aging surfer who runs a maintenance shop. Hardworking and handsome, if somewhat slow, Kidd begins to make friends with some of the camp’s teens, especially Olivia, a blond beauty who wears a ski cap that covers part of her face regardless of the weather. Then Devon, Kidd’s former best friend and nemesis, finds Kidd and threatens to destroy the peaceful life that he has fallen into. De la Peña has crafted a taut psychological novel that will both frustrate and fascinate readers. Narrated by Kidd, it moves from the immediate past and a possible murder to the present, then to the far past, constantly offering clues to the mysteries of Kidd’s sad and violent life. The intriguing, well-developed characters introduce themes of class and gender friction, creating a puzzling and sobering yet strangely hopeful book that will stay with readers. Grades 8-11. --Frances Bradburn
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.