Rating: 4.5 stars
Cover Rating: 3.5 stars (It's interesting, but definitely would not make me want to pick it up.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 17, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 393 p.
When Sam meets Emily, nothing in his past seems to matter. Except keeping his past away from her. Sam hasn't been in school for many years. His dad is unhinged and Sam and his brother, Riddle, have been dragged across many states while his father follows the instructions from the voices in his head. Riddle barely talks and has never set foot inside a classroom. Neither boys have had much contact with people their own age, so when Sam meets Emily he is scared but also excited. Maybe his dad won't move them again. Maybe Emily's family can help Sam and Riddle find a place to call home at last.
This book had so much going on in it, but all the stories were very nicely entwined. Again this was a third person perspective novel, but the story was so touching, fast-paced and just left you rushing through the pages to follow Sam and Riddle through their trials. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to all readers of realistic fiction. This was a story about family and trying to find one. Sam and Riddle's father ripped them from their home and took them out onto the open road. Ever since then, perhaps without knowing it, they have been trying to piece together some semblance of a family with the two of them. Their dad is not at all a good father figure. He doesn't bother to feed the kids or do much more than uproot them every couple of months to move on to his next crimes. I guess you couldn't call it uprooting really, since the kids weren't really allowed to settle in and talk to people. When Sam meets Emily though things start to slowly change. Even Riddle can see that something is different about Sam, something is changing for the better. I loved how dynamic each of the characters were. Their interactions left each one of them changed, some for the better.
This book had a lot of karma in it. You could really tell that each person was affected by how they acted in their lives. Sam and his brother, who have never done anything against anyone, clearly were smiled on by the fates. Their father presented an interesting contrast to the boys. It's always fascinating to see a case of nature versus nurture as is present in this case. Sam and Riddle clearly did not become a product of their father's insanity and criminality. Sam and Riddle were excellent kids, if not a little misguided by their father. I was so happy the way things turned out for everyone.
At times this story was a little odd, because the third person encompassed all the characters, including the animals. It was confusing sometimes trying to figure out who's perspective we were seeing the situation from. Regardless this story was well written and just a fascinating and really good story. I was sad to have it end, even though I was tearing through the pages trying to figure out what would happen next. There are just so many aspects to this novel that are hard to talk about without spoiling it too much. This was one of those stories that puts tears in your eyes while you read the hardships that everyone must endure. I was certainly tearing up by the end of this novel, with grief and relief. Just do yourself a favor and make sure when you get the opportunity, pick up this book.
"The days of the week meant nothing to him."
"But was it possible to grit your teeth and still sing?"