He was four when it happened. Sebastian doesn’t remember what happened that day and no one wants to talk about it to help him remember. He only knows that it was an accident, an accident that no one will forget and one that will haunt him forever. Sebastian has made plans. Occasionally, late at night, Sebastian rides his bike to an old abandon mobile home where he knows when the time is right, he will finally be able to put his mind at rest. For Sebastian feels guilty for killing his baby sister and in the end, he will again pull the trigger and this time, he will take his own life.
As I read knowing that Sebastian knew he was going to take his own life sometime in the future, there was this anticipation, this dread and yet this hope that something would come along for him. For Sebastian knew it needed to be done, he needed to take his life for the guilt was eating away at him. He thought everything would be okay when he was gone yet he claimed he didn’t remember what happened that day so I wanted to believe that somehow if he learned the truth, the guilt would vanish. I wanted to race through to the end of this novel to see, to hear, to witness how it turned out but shamefully I didn’t really want to know and I didn’t really want to be a witness to it. The more I read, I kept asking myself, can I stop reading this novel and not know the ending? Will I be okay not knowing if he succeeded in his ultimate goal?
Sebastian had one good friend Evan and Evan’s parents did not care for Sebastian. I was hoping that Evan might be his lifeline but the way the story was headed, this possibility was not looking good. With summer approaching, Sebastian’s mother informed him that his lazy days of summer were over and this summer marked the beginning of something new. He needed to be productive. With Sebastian’s state of mind, this set him off and they got into a heated argument. Always in the back of mind, I was wondering if today was “the day” that Sebastian would leave us but luckily Aneesa is moving in the neighborhood and she intrigued him. Aneesa gives Sebastian hope, she was innocent and they hit it off instantly. I couldn’t believe the direction this novel was headed in: the drama, the excitement and the ruckus for it was captivating but I kept asking myself is this really happening? Barry Lyga, you did it again, this novel was amazing. I love the way Barry plays with words, he commands them. There is power in words and he brilliantly uses words to stress a point whether that be five words on a page or the words the characters uses. His words, stop you in your tracks. I highly recommend this novel.
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.
What a powerful book this turned out to be! I am not someone who cries over books. I have done it before but it may happen only one time every couple of years. I almost couldn't figure out why the page was suddenly blurry but then I realized that my eyes were filled with tears which were making it hard to continue reading. This book melted my little heart of ice just a bit because it completely got to me. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this gem of a book.
This book isn't afraid to deal with tough issues. I am really surprised by how many important issues are tackled in this story and they are all done well. Gun safety, teen suicide, and prejudice all play a major role in this story. I have to admit that this book made me stop and think about how I would deal with these issues not only if I were in the character's place but also how I would react if as the adult in a teenager's life.
Sebastian has grown up shouldering an enormous amount of guilt. More guilt than any one person should have to deal with much less grow up with. Ten years ago when he was only four years old he shot and killed his baby sister. Imagine what he goes through every single day knowing what he did. People treat him differently because they know he is the kid that killed his sister. He sometimes just wants it all to stop.
I loved the characters in this book. They were so real to me as I read this story. Sebastian was pretty amazing. His range of emotions were wonderfully illustrated during the course of the story. His mother seemed to be having a difficult time dealing with day to day life much like Sebastian. They were able to function but neither seemed to be really able to deal with the past. Aneesha was a positive addition to Sebastian's life and her outlook on life was refreshing.
I would highly recommend this book to others. It is short but it packs a punch. The writing was absolutely excellent with wonderful pacing. I look forward to reading more from this talented author soon.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via TheNovl.com.
What a powerful little book! I almost never cry while reading but this book brought tears to my eyes. Very moving.