A tense and gritty story about stifled lives in a small town with few opportunities. A gay subplot is handled well. Michael's voice is believable and unique enough to stand out amid the many teen novels narrated in first person. There were times when he could not quite find the words, as when he searched for "non sequitur" -- he knew there was some kind of word to describe that but could only come up with "non sequence."
The body bag pictured on the cover is a bit of overkill, but maybe that's what it takes to get some readers to pick up a book. The novel that the boys are supposed to be studying in Mr. Haberman's class is Crime and Punishment. They do learn about consequences to their actions. It's also a book about how friendships and loyalties change as boys come of age. Grade 7 - up