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4.6 42
by Kate Morgenroth

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After his drug-dealing father's murder, 15-year-old Jude moves in with the mother he never knew. After he is tricked into pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit, he is imprisoned and must find the strength to clear his name.


After his drug-dealing father's murder, 15-year-old Jude moves in with the mother he never knew. After he is tricked into pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit, he is imprisoned and must find the strength to clear his name.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A 15-year-old insists to detectives that he was watching TV while his drug-dealer father was shot dead in another room, in what PW called a "crackerjack opening" to this "dark tale of one teen's loss and redemption." Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
We first meet Jude at age 15, at the scene of his drug-dealing father's murder—a murder that the police suspect he committed. Fearful for his own life, Jude refuses to tell who the murderer really is. Jude's mother, whom he never knew because his father had kidnapped him as a baby, turns out to be the district attorney. Their reunion works out well at first, as Jude's mother protects him from the police and takes him home to live with her and her boyfriend. But when one of Jude's classmates overdoses on heroin and Jude is accused of procuring the drug for him, his mother's boyfriend gives him bad advice—intentionally, Jude eventually discovers to his horror—and Jude, though innocent, is sent to prison, with his mother believing that he is guilty. At first Jude is so angry he earns the nickname "Duck," meaning, "watch out!" because he fights so viciously. Then, frightened by his own fury, Jude turns his energies to obtaining an education while in jail and finally gets out after years of incarceration, determined to prove his innocence to his mother and to bring down her treacherous boyfriend. Morgenroth, the author of two thrillers for adults, writes an engrossing, well-plotted tale with a sympathetic main character, though the use of the third person puts the reader at something of an emotional remove from Jude. Some readers may skim over the many legal details but most will be riveted by the prison scenes and by Jude's tragic situation. Some strong language and violence make this appropriate for mature readers only. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Simon & Schuster, 277p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature
Jude's world is turned on its head when his drug-dealing father is gunned down at their kitchen table right in front of him. Jude and his dad moved around a lot; the fifteen-year-old teen has never known his mother. Now he finds out that she is the district attorney of a neighboring borough. Jude goes from a ratty old apartment to a large, expensive house. He goes from an inner-city public school to a suburban private school. He has some big adjustments to make. And he has a pretty big problem to deal with: he cannot name the shooter who killed his father, but spared his life. As a result, the cops think he may have had something to do with the murder. Later, when a classmate dies of a drug overdose, the cops again turn their attention to Jude. A kid from the rough neighborhoods whose old friends are now dealing, Jude seems like the natural suspect. His district attorney mother, aspiring to the office of mayor, is urged to prosecute her son. Betrayed, sent to prison, Jude is determined to clear his name. Five years of hard time hardens his resolve to find out the truth behind his conviction, and it changes the course of this young man's life in surprising ways. Jude explores the legacy of violence he has inherited from his father, the desire for a connection with his mother, and his own strength in this dark coming-of-age story. Kate Morgenroth's first young adult novel is an intricately plotted, intelligent thriller. 2004, Simon & Schuster, Ages 14 to adult.
—Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Fifteen-year-old Jude believes that his mother abandoned him at birth. When his heroin-dealer father is murdered, the authorities discover that he is the son of DA and mayoral candidate Anna Grady, and that he was kidnapped by his father at three weeks old. His mother welcomes him into her comfortable life and sends him to an exclusive prep school. When a schoolmate dies of an overdose, Jude, though innocent, is implicated. His mother's boyfriend, Harry, the deputy police commissioner, convinces him to take part in an elaborate charade to help Anna get elected on an anti-drug platform. Harry promises that once she's elected he will come forward with evidence that Jude is innocent. Instead, Jude is tried as an adult, sent to the state penitentiary for five years, and finds that Harry never meant to get him out at all. The plot is tight, deliberately paced, and full of delicious twists. Unlike many suspense novels, the characters are as thoroughly developed as the story. Jude, especially, is lovingly written-self-conscious and highly moral, with an angry toughness that balances him into believability. The dialogue, especially between Harry and Jude, is fluid, charged, and revelatory instead of expository. Only Anna is flat; she's merely a symbol of Jude's need for love. The somewhat tiny font makes the prose seem dense, but the story is quick and action packed enough to engage reluctant readers, especially older boys.-Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Jude, a likable, well-meaning teenager, endures multiple betrayals in this absorbing thriller. After the 15-year-old's abusive, drug-dealing father is murdered in front of him, he's reunited with his mother, Anna, who his father had told him was dead. An ambitious, successful district attorney, she willingly takes Jude in but has no time for him. Lonely and struggling academically, Jude hopes to make friends by introducing a popular fellow student to a drug dealer from his old, poor neighborhood. When the student overdoses, Jude's life starts taking insidious twists and turns that lead him to prison and later to a dark, surprising search for justice. Although Jude is the only character fully developed here, his generous nature and longing for a family will win readers' sympathy, as they grow increasingly outraged at the villainous acts of those around him. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
"Unlike many suspense novels, the characters are as thoroughly developed as the story."
School Library Journal, starred review

"The intricacies of betrayal and discovery continue to the end of the novel."
Booklist, starred review

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Kate Morgenroth

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Copyright © 2004 Kate Morgenroth
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689864795

Chapter 1

The police arrived, then the paramedics, then the police photographer, and after that Jude lost track. There were so many officers and technicians and medical personnel that they spilled out of the small kitchen and into the hallway beyond. They knew what to do with the body lying on the kitchen floor. They knew how to secure the area to preserve evidence. They knew the procedure cold. But no one knew exactly how to handle Jude.

Jude sat in the darkened living room staring at the television. He was aware of what they must be thinking. What kind of kid sat watching TV when his father was lying dead in the next room? That's what they were saying in the kitchen. He knew the smart thing would've been to act like they expected him to. He should have cried or something.

They had taken his statement, then one of the policemen -- the youngest, the one who couldn't pass the buck -- was assigned to stay with him in the living room. The policeman didn't sit. He chose to stand, like a guard, near the doorway.

Jude could feel the officer glance at him every once in a while, but he kept his eyes carefully focused on the television -- so he didn't notice another figure in the doorway until he heard someone clear his throat.

When Jude looked up, he sawa man in a suit. The suit was the tip-off. Detective, Jude thought.

The man jerked his head at the young policeman, and the officer beat a quick retreat down the hall. Then he looked back to Jude and said, "Hey."

"Hey," Jude replied.

The detective seemed to take the brief acknowledgment as an invitation, and he crossed the room to stand beside the couch. He glanced over at the muted television.

"What are you watching?"

Jude shrugged. "Crap."

"It's all crap," the man said. "But I watch it anyway," he added. "Mind if I sit?"

Jude shifted slightly, as if to make room.

The detective sat on the end where the springs were broken, and he sagged almost to the ground. He grunted but didn't comment on it. At that level Jude could see that he was balding at the crown.

They sat without talking. Jude pretended to be staring at the screen, but he was really watching the man next to him out of the corner of his eye. Just as Jude thought the man was about to speak, a sharp voice echoed down the hallway.

"Where the hell are you, Burwell?"

Another man appeared in the doorway of the living room. This man was as thin and sharp as his voice -- except for his face, which had the drooping, wrinkled look of a hound dog.

"I thought we were doing the walk-through first," he said to Burwell. His eyes slid over to Jude. "Is this the kid?" he continued, without waiting for an answer to his first question.

Jude turned back to the television. He didn't like how this second man talked about him as if he weren't even in the room, but Jude's pointed movement failed to offend him; it just drew the man's attention to the television.

"You guys watching Leave It to Beaver or something?"

"We're just hanging out," Burwell said, glancing at Jude as if to include him in his answer.

The second man moved into the room to get a better look at the television. "Hey, I love this show," he said. "Turn up the sound for a minute."

Jude lifted the remote and changed the channel.

Instead of getting angry, the man broke into a smiling chuckle. "I see you've got a smart-ass here," he observed, but he said it as if it were a compliment.

"Hey, Grant, why don't you go back into the kitchen and make some notes about the scene. I'll be back in a couple," Burwell suggested.

"Okay, partner. Whatever you say." Grant looked over at Jude and said, "Don't let my partner fool you. He likes to play the jolly fat man, but he has the soul of a shark." He winked, pivoted on his heel, and disappeared back down the hallway.

"Don't mind him. He's an asshole," Burwell said in explanation. He paused, then asked delicately, "I need to ask you a few questions. You okay with that?"

"I guess." Jude tugged nervously at a ragged patch of fabric on the arm of the sofa.

Burwell pulled a notebook and a pen from his jacket pocket. "Were you the one who called in?"

Jude nodded.

"Okay. What's your name?"


"How old are you, Jude?"


"Can you tell me who that is in the kitchen?"

"That's my dad."

Burwell had been scribbling, but then he stopped. "I thought so," he said. "I'm sorry about your loss."

It was a common enough phrase, and the man said it without fuss. Jude realized that the detective must have repeated it a hundred times before. It was just part of a day's work for him. For some reason the thought that the loss of his father -- the only person Jude had in the world -- was just another corpse in a long line of bloody cases made his throat close up.

"Do you have any relatives we can call for you?"

Jude shook his head.


"No," he said. "There's no one."

"Where's your mother?"

Jude looked back at the TV. "Dunno. She split when I was a baby." He waited for the man's pity, but Burwell just made a note and plowed on with his questions.

"Were you in the apartment when the shooting occurred?"


Burwell didn't overtly react, but he watched Jude more closely as he asked him the next question.

"Where exactly?"

Here was where it got tricky. Jude had spent the last half hour trying to decide what his story would be. He decided that he couldn't lie about being here. Too many people had seen him on his way home, and he had passed a neighbor when he came into the building. So he said, "I was here, watching TV."

Burwell wrote for a few seconds. "We'll go over this more later, but right now I want you to tell me about what happened. Do you think you can do that?"

Jude figured his best course would be to keep it simple. "I heard someone bust in the door," he said. He paused and had to clear his throat before going on. "They went down to the kitchen and I heard something, like a pop or something. Then they took off."


Jude covered quickly. "I heard them talking when they were walking down the hall."

"Only two?"

"I'm pretty sure."

"So they never came back in here?"

Jude shook his head.

"And you didn't go into the kitchen?"

"Not until they split."

"Then you went in?"


"And what did you do when you went into the kitchen?"

"I called 911."


"Pretty much."

"And how long after that did the police arrive?"

"Less than ten minutes," Jude guessed.

"Do you know why someone might have wanted to kill your father?" Burwell asked, flipping the page in his notebook and still scribbling.

"Yeah." Jude had made the decision to be honest here.

Burwell glanced up. "Oh?"

"He was skimming too much from his shipments," Jude said. Now that they had gotten away from what happened, he felt a little steadier.

"His shipments of what?"

"Heroin and coke mostly." Jude changed the channel on the TV.

"Did he get a shipment tonight?"


"You saw it?"


"Did you see who dropped it off?"

Jude shook his head.

"Do you know who he got it from?"


Burwell rested his notebook on his knee and looked at Jude, his plump face unreadable in the light from the television.

Jude expected another question, but this time it didn't come.

"So, you think you're pretty tough, I guess," Burwell said mildly.

The comment caught Jude off guard. He didn't know what to say, so he didn't say anything.

Burwell took his silence as agreement. "Well, I'll let you believe that for a little while. I'm going to have one of the men take you down to the station, and we'll come down when we finish here. So you have maybe" -- he checked his watch -- "an hour or so to think about how tough you are before we get there."

He folded up his notebook and tucked it back into his pocket, sliding the pen in beside it.

"See, I'm ready to be sympathetic and understanding here, but if you don't tell me the truth, you're forcing my hand. I've been doing this too long not to smell bullshit when it's served up to me. The officers asked your neighbors if they heard anything. They're not too helpful -- apparently no one saw a damn thing -- but your neighbor Mrs. Ramos was pretty positive about one very interesting detail. She said she heard someone kick in the door. She didn't call the police or go out and check because she didn't want to get involved, but she was worried enough that they might try her door next that she stood and listened for them. Mrs. Ramos claims that whoever went into your apartment didn't come out for nearly ten minutes. She was real positive about that. Willing-to-testify kind of positive, if you know what I mean. So maybe you should think about whether you want to tell me what was going on in here for those ten minutes. Ten minutes you say you were here in the TV room and they were shooting your father, and you didn't see a thing."

Jude scrambled desperately to think of something to say -- something convincing, something believable.

Burwell waited a moment, and when Jude didn't respond, he said, "You see, this detective thing isn't that hard because people aren't that smart." He stared at Jude. Jude tried to stare back, but he found he couldn't hold it.

"Listen, you're young. We don't send kids to jail. If you had something to do with this, it's better to tell us. Then we can help you. Maybe it was a friend of yours come to take care of things for you. You've got a nasty bruise there, and your neighbors told us that you tend to get a lot of bruises. We take those things into account, you know. We understand about things like that."

"You don't understand anything," Jude said.

The detective seemed to hear the catch in his throat, and his next question was gentler. "Okay, maybe I don't, but how can I understand if you don't tell me? Listen, if you're scared about them coming after you, remember, we're the police. Protecting people is what we do."

If Jude had only been worried about his safety, he might have caved in and told the detective everything he knew. But the man had trusted him. He had trusted Jude to keep his word and had left him alive. He wasn't going to be like his father, Jude told himself fiercely.

When the silence stretched out, the detective nodded as if Jude had said something that confirmed all his suspicions. "Right. Let me explain something to you, Jude. Maybe you didn't have anything to do with this, but if you know something about your father's murder and you don't tell us, that makes you an accessory to the crime. That means you're partially responsible, and if we can prove it, we can cart you off to juvie, and the boys there will make a tough kid like you look like cotton candy. So think about that for a little while, and see if you can remember anything else."

Jude thought about it.

He was still thinking about it in the interrogation room more than two hours later. One of the policemen had taken him down to the station to wait for the detectives, and the longer he sat there, the more he felt like he wanted to jump out of his skin.

He jumped up and paced the room, back and forth, back and forth. The mirrored window caught his eye, and he realized that someone -- maybe even the detectives -- could be on the other side watching. Waiting. Figuring out when he was softened up enough. They already knew he was lying. His story hadn't held up for even five minutes. What would happen if they questioned him for two hours? Would he hold out...or would he break down and tell them the truth?

Copyright © 2004 by Kate Morgenroth


Excerpted from Jude by Kate Morgenroth Copyright © 2004 by Kate Morgenroth. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Kate Morgenroth is the author of the adult thrillers Kill Me First and Saved. She lives in New York City. Visit her Web site at www.katemorgenroth.com.

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Jude 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first book i ever read by kate morgenroth and i think it is outstanding. It is a very good sad but happy book. When i first got this book i only read like 10 pages at first and my eyes were glued to the page i love this book and i hope this book could be made into a movie because its just that good. I am also looking forward to reading more of kate morgenroths books especially kill me first that book looks like it will be very interesting. All i can say is thanx for creating such great books and to keep up the good work.
DinkelAA More than 1 year ago
Jude by Kate Morgenroth was a fantastic book. This is the first I¿ve read of Morgenroth and I will never regret my choice. This book is flooding with emotion. At some points you will be scared, and then you will be smiling and joyful, and then you¿ll want to cry. Jude is a book about a teen age boy, named Jude, that has to go through, pretty much everything people don`t want to experience in their lives. He is faced with death, drug dealing, jail, and so much more throughout the book. From the very beginning Kate Morgenroth has you on the edge of your seat with your eyes glued to the page. On the very first page, you read about the death of Jude¿s drug dealing father. Throughout the book, a connection grows between you and Jude, and you feel extreme sympathy for him and wish everything would be better in his life. Although Jude is faced with many challenges, he succeeds and excels in life at the end of the book. After being reunited with his high class mother, Anne, he uses that reunion as a drive for his life. My favorite aspect of this book is its lesson. It teaches you to never give up on your dream, even when faced with roadblocks, keep going. One thing I didn¿t like about this book is basically the buildup to the climax. Not because its poorly developed or because it was dull, but because of what Jude had to go through. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good suspense story. Not suspense in the traditional sense, but the kind that keeps you guessing. I do feel like this book is for an older more mature crowd because of its talk about murder, drugs, and at some point¿s offensive language. If I were to rate this book I would give it four and a half out of 5 stars. I hope you take time read this book!
Tina Landgraf More than 1 year ago
this is probably the best book ive ever read. i suggest this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This should be titled THE WOELDS BEST BOOK becase it truely is just that. Personally this is one of my very few favorite books in earth. If I had the tim i would read this book over and over and over again until my brain explodes. Lol. But seriously if you own 11$ GET THIS BOOK!! #NoRegrets
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was an amazing find. It had twists and turns in the plot every chapter and had characters turning out to not be the same as you thought. The plot grows more and more complex, but is still followable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So i first got this book because the name of the book (my name is jude) and i fell inlove with this book from the start i highly reconmend this book must read for sure
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Corey_P More than 1 year ago
Jude is a book about a teen age boy that has to go through, pretty much everything people don`t want to experience in their lives. He is faced with death, drug dealing, jail, and so much more throughout the book. The character of Jude is a very interesting character to follow during the book. Throughout the book I got more attached to him and found myself upset when Jude was at harm. The book starts out with a great lead that really grabs your attention. In the first page you hear about the murder of Jude`s drug dealer father which already sets up an interesting situation. Within the first few pages of the book you are already able to tell Jude`s personality, a shy, strong (both physically and emotionally) young man living in a rough neighborhood. Jude reunites with his higher class mother, Anna. Anna`s character I felt was very bland and not well developed on, the situation Jude was put in in his new, higher class lifestyle was very intriguing and it also set up Jude with peer pressure at school which was a good dilemma in the book. As Jude gets older in the book he is put into tougher situations, but he also grows more in responsibility and shows that he can make something of himself. Showing how Jude grows maturely in the book was a good aspect to it because if it was not put into the book it would be to much of an emotional book. The best quality of the book was the realism of many of the characters and settings. Though the book drags on at times, it is mostly a good read if you are up for a pretty realistic, but some what gloomy book.
kneljam More than 1 year ago
Jude is not just a book. He is a character that grows and seems more than real. He seems like a friend, or possibly even the reader: you. He carries with him a powerful message of desires, sorrows and the transformations one can go through. Jude's life had never been all he wanted, even though he didn't know just what it was that he needed most. Then, when he discovers that he wants to find his mother more than anything, his abusive, drug-dealing father is brutally murdered and that is precisely where the police put him. The story unfolds as it is revealed exactly who Jude's mother is and Jude realizes that living the good life is harder than it sounds. Complications arise both in Jude's new school and back on the street where Jude grew up and it is Jude that is blamed for all of it. This is when Jude's mom's boyfriend formulates a plan that tests both Jude and himself to their fullest capacity. This novel is very powerful and filled with insight into the darker parts of reality. There are times when Jude has contact with drugs and these encounters all but ruin his life. This novel also includes groundbreaking imagery. When Jude's father is murdered, the imagery is so detailed and precise that it evokes emotion from the reader. All of the characters are dynamic and drastically change as the story develops. Jude's reporter friend, Davis, turns into a completely different person as he turns into a respectable adult. This novel is primarily for teens but adults may also find it intriguing. I would give this book two enthusiastic thumbs-up! Jude will have you hooked from page one and keep you guessing until you turn the final page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Live_to_readMM More than 1 year ago
This book as been one of the best books I've read in a while. I had me guessing for start to finish. Its a must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AEFG More than 1 year ago
This book book has a way of triggering your emotion. It is a real story about real things. The main character is a boy named Jude who lives in the ghetto area. There is a lot of crime were he lives. But once something terrible happens to his father he has a chance of changing his life for the better. His father is a drug dealer which is not a great impression for Jude. His father was cheating on his deals by mixing things like baby powder with the drugs he sold. This all eventually caught up to him. This book was very good and i definitley recommend it. It kept me reading and did get a little intense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago