By: Dandi Daley Mackall
Publication Date: September 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 2011
Hope Long is sixteen-years-old and is stuck in a life where she can barely breathe. This is a girl whose mother is total slime. Old Mom likes to drink like a sieve, hit her kids, go from trailer to trailer, and bed every male slime in the universe; in other words, dear Mom is the essence of trailer-trash. The one bright spot in Hope’s life is her truly wonderful brother, Jeremy. Jeremy suffers from a disease that even the doctors fight over - could be Autism, but might be something else. But Hope thinks her brother is simply one of the most amazing people, with one of the biggest hearts she’s ever seen. So when it comes time to take the stand in his defense, Hope is physically ill as she has to retell the story of how it came to be that her brother is now sitting in a chair, while others make the decision over whether he should live or die.
Coach Johnson, a man who seriously loved Jeremy and let him help out with the baseball team, is found dead, and Jeremy was seen running from the building with a baseball bat in his hand. So, of course, according to the town and the hideous local sheriff, the ‘crazy’ Jeremy has to be the killer. But Hope just can’t believe that.
She begins to tell the prosecutor about their background, regaling him with stories of how truly wonderful her brother is. She talks about the time that Jeremy gave up his clothes and extra food to people who needed help and were homeless. She talks about ALL the good things Jeremy has done, but still people don’t believe her when she says he’s innocent.
Chase is the young man in town that Hope has feelings for. Unfortunately, he is also the son of the sheriff who truly hates Hope’s brother and wants him to die by lethal injection. Hope’s best friend is T.J. who has taken it upon himself to get Chase’s help in finding out who really killed Coach Johnson in order to set Jeremy free.
The mystery is truly gripping in this YA novel, and not many readers will be able to guess who the real killer of Coach Johnson was. But the reason this story is truly powerful is because of the character of Jeremy - his kind heart and caring spirit - and the amazing relationship between brother and sister.
Quill Says: A gripping murder mystery with a wealth of honesty, respect, and love that flows throughout.