Love and friendship are severely tested by mental illness tinged with fantasy.
August and Jack are the very definition of opposites attracting. Jack, a popular, golden-haired white varsity rugby player, seems to have a perfect life, while August is a poor kid of mixed race who runs drugs in their high school to make extra money. The boys are from opposite ends of the social spectrum, but their connection is deeper than friendship and more intense than the relationships either one has with members of the opposite sex. Their bromance, which enables both teens to survive parental neglect and absence, has a decidedly destructive bent that leads to their breaking into a toy factory together and also tattooing their names on each other. When Jack begins hallucinating, convinced that he sees into a parallel world in need of saving, August decides to believe him, charting a course that tests their friendship and their sanity. Ancrum’s first novel, set in 2003, is an eerie piece of realistic fiction whose characters revel in intense emotions that will feel very authentic to high school teenagers. Their story is presented in extremely short chapters punctuated by pictorial elements such as arrest reports, snapshots, and maps. As the story proceeds, the pages darken until the final acts play out in white type on black. The fragmented style of the narrative keeps the action moving but undercuts character development, causing details about the main characters to be told to readers rather than shown.
A haunting story that bravely explores friendship and mental illness. (Historical fiction. 14-18)