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From The CriticsDarcy has it all under control. His mom is in prison, his dad doesn't care, and he has to take responsibility for raising his deaf, epileptic younger sister. But the 15-year-old is handling it all, except for that small problem he has with cutting himself. Then his mom is released from prison, and Darcy is accused of a terrible crime. His carefully ordered world spins wildly out of control. This short novel addresses a number of social issues: self-injury, dysfunctional families, substance abuse, sexual abuse, and alternative high schools. But the tone is very matter-of-fact and never preachy or melodramatic. Bad language is minimal. Despite the grim subjects, it is not a painful book to read. There are strong themes about the transcendent power of hope, love, and forgiveness. There is also a terrific teacher who demonstrates the pivotal role a caring adult can play when she doesn't give up on a surly, troubled teen. The plot doesn't contain any surprises and the ending is just a little too neat, but overall it's a very enjoyable book. 2004, Orca Book Publishers, 168 pp., Ages young adult.