When James’ older brother gives his mother an ultimatum, the boyfriend or him, he moves out leaving James alone to deal with the abusive boyfriend and a mother that has checked out long ago. James’s brother, whom he idolizes, has become a drug dealer and enlists James’s help in deliveries. He is quickly arrested and at 16 finds himself in a juvenile detention facility. Abandoned by everyone, his mother, his brother, he reaches out to a favorite teacher and receives encouraging letters from him. The guards are abusive, violence abounds, and teens die. This is a ‘scared straight’ type of book and very well written. Gritty, dark, and rough. Highly recommend for older teens.
NetGalley review Publication date 5.14.13