Marcus has a trust fund, acceptance to an elite university, and a sense of entitlement. But when tragedy strikes, he must decide whether to risk everything for what really matters.
Whether it is skiing, sex, or drinking, the white boy is all about pushing the boundaries. During the grade-12 ski trip to Whistler, Marcus convinces his Chinese-Canadian friend, Tom, a scholarship student, and the lovely Latina Yasmin (one parent is Muslim, and the other is Catholic) to ski with him out of bounds. Yasmin dies and Tom is left paralyzed. But as usual, Marcus is untouchable. His father’s response to the tragedy is to throw money at it. His mother’s is to self-medicate. Marcus, forced to confront himself, hates what he sees. In spite of its brevity, few words on a page, and simple vocabulary, this book is aimed squarely at teens. Coarse language, sex, drinking, and a frank discussion of suicide are all part of this tale. Unfortunately, while the message is good and the sense of audience on target, the delivery is poor. The tone is overly earnest, the secondary characters are static, and the plot is obvious. Further, both Marcus’ and Tom’s transformations feel simplistic and rushed.
Marcus’ journey reads more like a preachy after-school special than a story of true growth out of tragedy. (Fiction. 12-16)