This is the story of two teenagers from completely different backgrounds. The first is Jaleel, an African American from a small town who witnesses his father kill his mother and then himself. The police decide that Jaleel is the murderer and rather than trying to clear his name, he flees. He meets a man on the bus who helps him out, providing him a new identity so we can start a new life in LA. Jaleel is a smart kid with a knack for baseball, which allows him to carry on in school and get accepted to a top tier university.
Then there's Alex. She comes from a privileged family, in a wealthy neighbourhood of LA. Her dad is a successful criminal lawyer, her mom a socialite that likes to put on the best party. Having an adventurous nature, Alex happens in to Jaleel's neighbourhood and they start talking. They hit it off and Alex wants to return as soon as she can, but she finds out that her mom is having an affair with her dad's best friend and eventually her dad finds out too. Alex convinces Jaleel to help her warn off her dad's friend, which puts them all in a bad situation.
French does a great job of writing these two teens. Alex felt particularly real to me. She had a great head on her shoulders for a teen, but she wasn't so mature or insightful that you couldn't believe her age. She was worried about some things that teens worry about, which added to her realness. Jaleel was a bit of a harder nut to crack because of how guarded he was from all the horrible things he had been through. I liked him, but it felt like there was less time dedicated to him so I couldn't get as much a feel for him.
The adults are another story. All of them are pretty pathetic. Alex's dad has no ethics or values, Alex's mom is the most selfish person in the world that completely abandons her kids, all the cops are blind to the clues in front of them and the lawyers are no better.
This interesting mix of characters makes for a page-turning novel. There are unexpected twists and turns through the whole thing and a very realistic ending. The only thing this book needs is a cover worthy of the story inside!
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour!
First Line: "Sunday, July 6, 2014."
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