Readers won't need to know the true story behind Shusterman's latest; as fiction, the premise of a boy's coming to grips with his mother's murder by his father is compelling stuff. And while the novel doesn't fulfill its promise, that premise will keep YAs involved to the last. Preston Scott knows his family is in turmoil--his parents have nightly fights--but he is understandably shocked when his father borrows a gun and kills his mother. Not until the end of the book does Preston learn of the circumstances surrounding the ""accident,"" although his reconciliation with his father has already begun. Any fictionalization of the hard-core reality of a murder runs the risk of trivializing. Here, whether the events are reconstructed or imagined, the narrative is never really grounded in the characters' reasons for behaving as they do: Preston's mother is reduced to being a cold boaster; her parents are so fervently religious that they deny their feelings; Preston's forgiveness of his father is one-part spiritual, one-part shrug. Though the story is based in truth, it doesn't feel true; fiction or fact, that's a crime.