Susan Vaught, Author . Bloomsbury $16.95 (292p) ISBN 978-1-58234-920-6

The motivation behind a teenager's suicide attempt and its lasting effects on family and friends is the subject of this rather disturbing, well-crafted novel. Seventeen-year-old Jersey Hatch, who narrates, attempted to blow his brains out using his father's gun. Now, back home from rehab and frustrated with his limitations, caused by the gunshot wound, Jersey struggles to remember why he wanted to kill himself. Mama Rush, an elderly neighbor, and her granddaughter Leza try to help him—the only two people in the whole community who seem willing to talk to Jersey honestly. Jersey's random, compulsive narrative (he possesses little ability to sensor his speech) makes this brain-damaged character compelling. Most of the secondary characters are also believable—although some of their angry reactions to him seem extreme, given his incapacitated state. Vaught's tightly focused story never deviates from its exploration as to what would drive a teen to suicide. Readers who ever wondered what could happen if their suicide attempt failed may find this to be a powerful cautionary tale. Ages 12- up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/20/2006
Release date: 08/01/2006
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4178-2017-7
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-59990-792-5
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-59990-230-2
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