author: Swati Avasthi
date: Random House; 2010
main character: Jace Witherspoon
from the inside flap:
Sixteen your old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother, Christian, with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father), $3.84 and a secret.
He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind. His mother is still trapped with his dad. And his ex-girlfriend is keeping his secret—for now.
I’m not sure why I didn’t like Jace more. He may not have been developed well enough for me to like him, or perhaps I just didn’t like him because he was a jerk. Did I need to know him more, or less?
Prior to writing this book, Avasthi worked as a domestic-violence legal clinic coordinator. This experience provided her background and insights that she obviously brought to this story and artfully developed into a portrayal of a young teen who is emotionally tortured from the abuse of his father. How does he not let his victimization define him? How does he get his brother to open up and tell how he overcame his past, their shared past? Jace does find answers and in reading through his struggle, I was able to understand the effects of abuse more that I ever had before.
themes: relationships; abuse; identity