Selling Points: "Gang violence, honesty"
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Sep/01/2006
Lexile Level: HL560L
Fry Reading Level: 2.2
Fiction Ages 10-14
I just stand there, listening to the blood pounding in my head. I'm aware of Daniel beside me, can almost hear him breathing. We're dead quiet, but the gang must sense us. The short one has been crouching, looking at the person on the ground. Now he straightens up, turns in our direction. In a low voice, he says something I can't hear. For a second, he steps into the light, and I catch a glimpse of his face. It's angular and bony. Skull-like. I know who it belongs to. His name is Damien Sykes. Lots of people know him. I just pray he doesn't know me.
He's seen us. "Hey! You!" he shouts. Somehow his words break the spell, and we can move. Beside me, Daniel has finally found his feet. He slams into me as he wheels around and takes off in the same direction we've come from. I am right behind him.
When Shawn and Daniel witness a gang beating behind the local mall they flee the scene, terrified that they've been seen. They recognize one of the attackers as a locally infamous gang member. When they learn that the kid who was attacked is in critical condition, Shawn wants to go to the police, but Daniel convinces him that they are in more danger if they speak up. The threats they receive from other members of the gang reinforce the boys' fears. When the gang attacks Daniel, Shawn has to put his own safety at risk to help his friend.
Canadian Book Review Annual - June 1, 2008
"An enthralling novel about urban grittiness and realism...The plot is fast-paced, the dialogue is crisp and realistic...Highly recommended."
TeensReadToo.com - May 1, 2007
"Compelling characters and a plot that is right out of today's headlines...A quick, easy read that will appeal to reluctant readers."
VOYA - April 1, 2007
"The characters are believable and well-defined and the writing is crisp and clean...easy to read but holds high interest."
Kalwriters.com - March 1, 2007
"The fight and chase scenes are absolutely tantalizing."
CM Magazine - December 8, 2006
"A fast-paced, event-driven story...A page-turner for kids who are beginning to read at this level and for reluctant readers. Recommended."