Corrigan’s debut YA novel follows a high school freshman as he deals with harrowing circumstances and confronts traumatic memories.
On a stormy California evening, a 15-year-old named Walker Morrison stumbles into a church with a bullet wound in his shoulder. As the resident priest tends to his injuries, Walker recounts the events of the last year, starting with the previous summer. He was about to enter his first year at May View High School, a prestigious private school largely populated by the rich. At first, things seemed to be going well. He earned a position on the football team and scored plenty of invitations to wild parties, and after breaking up with his middle school crush, he started dating a beautiful girl named Katherine Lambart. Outside of school, he had a passion for music and dreamed of being a movie director. However, events took a turn for the worse when his best friend Josh Brand’s dad returned to town. He’s an abusive drug addict who disappeared five years ago after trying to pull a gun on his wife. After Walker crossed him, the teen became immersed in a world of threats and violence. Despite some slow pacing in the book’s first half, the plot eventually delivers some well-executed, high-tension action scenes. However, Walker’s flaws, including his ignorance of his own privilege, his objectification of women, and his disrespectful attitude toward his parents, are definitely drawbacks. It’s eventually revealed that his behavioral issues stem from a distressing childhood experience, and he realizes the importance of discipline through his relationships with teachers and other role models. However, his comportment doesn’t drastically change after these revelations. In the words of Walker himself: “Not that I’m not still an asshole; I’m just self-aware now.” Whether this redeems him is dubious, and his distasteful personality may turn off many readers.
An intriguing exploration of the teenage psyche, but its protagonist is difficult to like.