From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Miguel struggles to forgive himself for a tragic event that changed his life and his family forever. He willingly accepts his one-year sentence to a juvenile detention center and the requirement that he keep a journal. De La Peña uses the conceit of the journal to tell the story in Miguel's words. At the center, Miguel befriends Rondell, a mentally challenged teen prone to violent outbursts, and Mong, a troubled boy with myriad physical and emotional problems. Mong organizes an escape, and with little apparent thought, Miguel and Rondell agree to join him. The boys' convoluted travels take them up and down the California coast and are recorded in Miguel's journal, along with his personal journey of self-discovery. It is frustrating that the salient event, the one that led to Miguel's incarceration, is kept from readers, and most other characters, until the end of the book. Once the truth of what happened is exposed, it is difficult to comprehend the callousness shown to Miguel by other family members; in fact, readers may question why he was imprisoned at all. The premise of juvenile delinquents on the run, camping out, and trying to survive and to find themselves will appeal to teens, but the story is just too drawn out to hold the interest of most of them.—Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA
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"Fast, funny, smart, and heartbreaking
...The contemporary survival adventure will keep readers hooked."-Booklist
"This gripping story about underprivileged teens is a rewarding read.
"A furiously paced and gripping novel.
"A story of friendship that will appeal
to teens and will engage the most reluctant readers."-Kirkus Reviews
An ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Readers
An ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers
A Junior Library Guild SelectionFrom the Hardcover edition.
--This text refers to the
Audio CD edition.