“I wish they would all stop tiptoeing around me just because my mom offed herself over the summer.”
The summer before his senior year, 17-year-old Tyler Blackwell had it all. A popular jock with a cheerleader girlfriend and the promise of a scholarship to Stanford to prove he had brawn and brains in equal measure, Tyler was destined for better things in better places—until an early-summer afternoon changed everything. A tough and uncompromising look at a young man’s struggle to come to terms with his mother’s suicide and to survive the horrifically abusive father who blames him for her death, Levy’s debut novel is both powerful and difficult to read, largely because she does an excellent job capturing both Tyler’s volatility and his vulnerability. The first-person narration is raw and honest, the voice of a real teen searching for answers while walking a razor-thin line between salvaging what remains or throwing it all away. This novel isn’t for the faint of heart. Tyler’s interactions with his father are graphic and unrelenting, and anticipating when and how he will strike will leave readers as anxious as Tyler. Thankfully, Tyler’s rekindled relationship with an old friend and her family provides some respite—a chance for Tyler and readers alike to catch their breaths.
Raw and unforgettable. (Fiction. 14-18)