Just as former "banger" Nick makes a vow to change his life, the boy he sent to jail is set free.
The year is 1977, the place is upstate New York, and after spending most of high school with his fellow bangers, dressing in jeans and band T-shirts and hanging out at their friend Jay's house getting drunk, Nick is ready to become his own person. Following his new rules for himself—"STAND OUT. STAND UP. STAND BY. STAND FAST"—Nick goes to school in a shirt and tie, ditches a boring party with his friend Karla, and refuses to be cowed by a group of smarmy, silk-shirted "polys" trying to buy beer and cigarettes underage at the Stop-N-Go where he works. His resolve is tested, however, when he learns that Steve "Zod" Zodarecky, who went to jail five years earlier on Nick's testimony, has returned and is asking about him. Suspense ramps up quickly as Zod appears seemingly everywhere with offers Nick can't refuse. Quickly and inexorably, Nick is drawn into a lucrative and dangerous drug-dealing operation. Teaming up with Dawn, a girl involved with the dealers, Nick begins to plot an escape. Each drug run sizzles with tension, and myriad hidden agendas and double-crosses keep readers guessing until the end.
Filled with nail-biting action and crackling with evocative detail. (Historical thriller. 14-18)