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Children's LiteratureIn 1940, on a ranch in Colorado, two boys come of age. The transition from adolescence into young manhood for the 15-year-old twins, one of whom is mentally retarded, is told with poignant honesty. Will yearns to separate himself from his more limited brother, Denny. Against his father's wishes, he sets out to ride to La Junta to compete in a rodeo. He is sure that he will win, both prizes and his freedom—freedom from a life spent looking after Denny. But Denny follows Will, reminding him that they are blood brothers, symbolized by a small white scar each carries on a finger. Will struggles with the pull of adventure, independence, and being on his own, which requires that he abandon the responsibility of looking after his brother. Where does true adulthood lie? Unexpectedly a family friend provides a solution and a lesson in alternatives. This novel is haunting and well-plotted. Each brother's voice rings true. The story appears simple but its message is powerful and universal. How can we be both our brother's keeper and true to ourselves? 2006, Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins Publishers, and Ages 10 up.