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It's far too rare in young adult literature to find the kind of intense emotion and angst that Flinn gives us in her latest powerhouse novel, as we look back with Michael on the past year of his life.

It used to be just Michael and his mother, struggling to make their way, but happy nonetheless—or so Michael thought. He was a popular kid and the best quarterback in the school. But when his mom marries Walker, their lives will never be the same.

Now, his mother is on trial for Walker's death, and Michael is hiding out, working with a traveling carnival. When the carnival returns to his hometown, Michael decides to reveal the things he knows about the night his stepfather died.

This is a story about how abuse affects not just the person who is repeatedly beaten and bruised, but also those around them. With Flinn behind the storytelling wheel, readers careen through a guilt- and pain-ridden tale and come to understand the shame of those who watched the abused A top-notch look inside the horrific existence of the abused. (Apr., 288 pp., $15.99)
Reviewed by: 
Taylor Morris