Synopses & Reviews
"First-time author Cerrito delivers a tale of crime, punishment, and self-discovery driven by subtle characterizations and simmering tensions. When chronic troublemaker Robbie Thompson ends up at Great Oaks School, it's because he's run out of chances. Now, stripped of all luxuries, he has to earn everything from fresh clothes and a shower to decent food and real conversation. And to do that, he must examine his life, his choices, and his mistakes. Robbie's story unfolds in clipped sections that alternate between his present incarceration and flashbacks that center on his difficulties in school; his close ties to his uncle Grant, who is serving in Iraq; and particularly his intense relationship with his troubled friend Ryan all of which culminate in a murder that still haunts him. Cerrito touches on themes of poverty, child abuse, and the psychology of violence, but refrains from drawing concrete conclusions a narrative choice that may frustrate readers who crave definitive answers. Nevertheless, she portrays Robbie's wobbly path to redemption with a persuasive blend of humor, desperation, and painful observation. Ages 12 up. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In the prison-like school that is his last chance, thirteen-year-old Robbie tries to recover from events that brought him there, including his uncle's war injuries and the death of a classmate who may have been his friend.
Thirteen-year-old Robbie is locked in a room with nothing
but a desk, a chair, a piece of paper, and a pencil. He's starving, but all they'll give him is water. He is sure he's in a nuthouse or a prison. Actually, he's at Great Oaks School, aka the End of the Line. Kept in solitary confinement, Robbie must earn points for food, a bed, even bathroom privileges. He must learn to listen carefully, to follow the rules, and to accept and admit the truth: he is a murderer. Robbie's first-person account of his struggles at the school--at times horrifying, at times hilarious--alternates with flashbacks to the events that
led to his incarceration. Ultimately he must confront the question: which is worse--that he wanted to kill his friend Ryan or that he killed him by accident? Gripping and suspenseful, this is a powerful, no-holds-barred novel by an exciting new talent.