STILL WATERS by Ash Parsons


Age Range: 12 - 16
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A down-on-his-luck teen is made an offer he can't refuse.

Jason and his sister, Janie, are stuck with their abusive, alcoholic father in the worst part of town. The pair scrimp and save anything they can and dream of one day having enough cash to strike out on their own. So when high school it boy Michael drives up in his vintage Mustang and offers Jason $50 a day to hang out with him, Jason has little reason to turn him down. The results of this arrangement prove to be less than advantageous. The author weaves a web of lies and deceit around Jason, so much so that readers will barely know whom to trust less, Michael or the enigmatic and impossibly sexy Cyndra. As Jason tries to figure out who's playing what and for whom, readers get a look at a fully formed but terribly damaged individual. Less interesting are most of the other characters, all drawn with broad strokes. This makes the novel a bit repetitive in the middle, when Jason gets into a cycle of brooding, then trusting a bit, and then brooding again once new information comes to light several times over. The novel's ending is also far too "happily ever after" considering all the angst that came before, making for a jarring tonal experience. 

An uneven debut, but Parsons shows real promise with Jason’s characterization. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 21st, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-399-16847-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2015


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