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Winner of the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel
A teenager tries to clear her mute brother's name when he is accused of murdering the local high-school baseball coach.
Hope Long already had a laundry list of problems before her autistic brother Jeremy was arrested for murder: an abusive, alcoholic mother, a run-down house and no social life to speak of. But true to her name, Hope isn't letting any of that get in the way of playing amateur detective. Enlisting the help of school outsider T.J. and crush object Chase, who conveniently is also the son of the local sheriff, she looks for evidence that proves selectively mute Jeremy couldn't have killed the coach he admired and loved. In a tearjerking denouement, Hope reveals what she has learned, resulting in an ending that will surprise no one. While the premise of this overly earnest psychological thriller will intrigue some readers, it suffers from slow pacing and a secondary cast of one-dimensional characters. Hope doesn't even begin detecting until nearly 100 pages in, and her constant recollections of her brother's selfless past actions make him appear perfect rather than real. In addition, the mean parents, bumbling defense lawyer and preening prosecutor all play to type, their characters flat.
Pass up this one for one of Judy Blundell's or Kathryn Miller Haines' whip-smart girl-centered mysteries instead. (Mystery. 13 & up)
“Your Honor, I object!”
The prosecutor stands up so fast his chair screeches on the courtroom floor. He has on a silvery suit with a blue tie. If he weren’t trying to kill my brother, I’d probably think he’s handsome in a dull, paper-doll-cutout kind of way. Brown hair that doesn’t move, even when he bangs the state’s table. Brown eyes that make me think of bullets. I’m guessing that he’s not even ten years older than Jeremy, the one sitting behind the defense table, the one on trial for murdering Coach Johnson with a baseball bat, the one this prosecutor would like to execute before he reaches the age of nineteen.
The prosecutor charges the witness box as if he’s coming to get me. His squinty bullet eyes make me scoot back in the chair. “The witness’s regrets about what she may or may not have done a decade ago are immaterial and irrelevant!” he shouts.
“Sit down, Mr. Keller,” the judge says, like she’s tired of saying it because she’s already said it a thousand times this week.
Maybe she has. This is my first day in her courtroom. Since I’m a witness in my brother’s trial, they wouldn’t let me attend until after I testified. So I can’t say the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what’s gone on in this courtroom without me.
“I’ll allow it,” the judge says. “Go ahead, Miss Long.”
Posted May 7, 2012
Wow! Great mystery, with deep characters--realistic courtroom scenes, suspense, love. Great read!
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 15, 2012
Posted June 17, 2012
This book has recently been awarded the Edgar Allan Poe award for Best Young Adult Mystery. No reason to limit the book to a particular age; the story keeps the reader guessing who committed the murder all the way to the end, and it accomplished the goal without a speck of rawness and gore! There is also evidence of love, family dedication and acts of kindness, as well as suspense and tension.
This is a book well worth reading...enjoy!
Posted February 20, 2012
Review by Jill Williamson
Coach Johnson is dead, and sixteen-year-old Hope Long is the only person who believes that her eighteen-year-old brother, Jeremy, is innocent. Sure, Jeremy is a little different--he's always been that way--but he's no killer. But there are no other suspects, so Hope sets out to find some and prove that Jeremy didn't kill Coach.
I'm totally impressed! This was a wonderfully creative mystery novel. The writing was excellent, and the characters were even better. I was completely sucked in and didn't see the end coming. I'm so glad I bought this book! This is the first I've read of MacKall's books, but I'm going to keep an eye peeled for whatever she writes in the future. If you like John Grisham, you'd like this book. With the wrongly accused and the search to find the truth, this book was one I couldn't put down. Highly recommended.
Posted October 17, 2011
Hope Long is sixteen-years-old and is stuck in a life where she can barely breathe. This is a girl whose mother is total slime. Old Mom likes to drink like a sieve, hit her kids, go from trailer to trailer, and bed every male slime in the universe; in other words, dear Mom is the essence of trailer-trash. The one bright spot in Hope's life is her truly wonderful brother, Jeremy. Jeremy suffers from a disease that even the doctors fight over - could be Autism, but might be something else. But Hope thinks her brother is simply one of the most amazing people, with one of the biggest hearts she's ever seen. So when it comes time to take the stand in his defense, Hope is physically ill as she has to retell the story of how it came to be that her brother is now sitting in a chair, while others make the decision over whether he should live or die. Coach Johnson, a man who seriously loved Jeremy and let him help out with the baseball team, is found dead, and Jeremy was seen running from the building with a baseball bat in his hand. So, of course, according to the town and the hideous local sheriff, the 'crazy' Jeremy has to be the killer. But Hope just can't believe that. She begins to tell the prosecutor about their background, regaling him with stories of how truly wonderful her brother is. She talks about the time that Jeremy gave up his clothes and extra food to people who needed help and were homeless. She talks about ALL the good things Jeremy has done, but still people don't believe her when she says he's innocent. Chase is the young man in town that Hope has feelings for. Unfortunately, he is also the son of the sheriff who truly hates Hope's brother and wants him to die by lethal injection. Hope's best friend is T.J. who has taken it upon himself to get Chase's help in finding out who really killed Coach Johnson in order to set Jeremy free. The mystery is truly gripping in this YA novel, and not many readers will be able to guess who the real killer of Coach Johnson was. But the reason this story is truly powerful is because of the character of Jeremy - his kind heart and caring spirit - and the amazing relationship between brother and sister. Quill Says: A gripping murder mystery with a wealth of honesty, respect, and love that flows throughout.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2012
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