John "Smoke" Conlan is serving time for two murders-but he wasn't the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke's new home and the only one he believes he deserves.
But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they're asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn't care that the "threads" that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.
Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink's help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he's willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Elle Cosimano grew up in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, the daughter of a maximum security prison warden and an elementary school teacher who rode a Harley. As a teen, she spent summers working on a fishing boat in the Chesapeake Bay. A failed student of the hard sciences, she discovered her true calling in social and behavioral studies while majoring in psychology at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Fifteen years later, Elle set aside a successful real-estate career to pursue writing. Her debut novel, Nearly Gone, was an Edgar Award Finalist, winner of the International Thriller Writers' Best Young Adult Novel Award, and winner of the inaugural Mathical Book Award recognizing mathematics in children's literature. Elle lives with her husband and two sons in Mexico, somewhere between the jungle and the sea. Website: www.ellecosimano.com. Twitter:@ellecosimano.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book had such a unique concept that I haven’t seen in many YA books. Yes there is a young man who is down on his luck, well probably out of luck since his in a juvenile detention center. However it whispers in some elements that aren’t in all YA books. It has suspense and intrigue without a lot of romance or plot holes. This book follows John “Smoke” Conlan throughout his time in the Y (which is a detention center/jail). Smoke is convicted of killing two people. However he only killed the one… intrigued yet? Due to a situation that left him dead for 6 minutes he now has the ability to go corporeal. Smoke uses this to his advantage in prison. He sets up a system where he finds out information for people in the jail about people outside of jail. Every night he can he goes out and finds out what other gang members are up to and how peoples families are doing. Whenever he chooses to do these he senses he is loosing a little more time… the threads leading back to his body are weaker and breaking. I can’t believe this author is not more popular she has written other books. Her writing is so well put together and the plot was fantastic! All of her books on Goodreads average 4 stars or more… yet I don’t see her being blogged about?!? I really enjoyed Smoke’s character, how in the center he is just living day by day. Then on one fateful evening someone notices him… when no one else can. After he runs into this person his normal prison life seems to turn upside down. He has been telling everyone for years he didn’t kill his teacher, now he has people who believe him and the web of lies are starting to unravel. Even though this book was only supposed to revolve around Smoke I really enjoyed the side characters. You get to see that not all of humanity is lost in some of the deeds he does for others. Whether or not he is telling himself these deeds are to have one over on certain people or get something in trade for the most part he is a good guy. The plot twists and turns throughout the story were really good… when you thought it was going one way and it went another. Also the ending while not fairy tale was really good.
Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano, is a unique book in many ways: The premise (a boy is able to leave his body and have his spirit wander around when he sleeps), coupled with the setting (a juvenile prison) make for a strangely haunting read. To be honest, I was not sold, at first, on the idea that John "Smoke" could float away from his body due to a near death experience. On the surface, it appeared to be a silly device used to enable the character to do more than sit in prison. On a deeper level, however, it seemed more like a metaphor for how people cope with extreme situations. As I read the book, I began to understand that many of the characters find ways to "check out" of their bodies in difficult situations. The waitress, Pink, plasters on her "tip smile" and keeps busy to avoid the unpleasant reality of being an underage girl working in a strip club. Martin, the prisoner pushing the library cart, chooses to show no emotion at all as he moves between inmates. The prison itself is a place who's currency is information and favors. Since John can walk out at will, he is in a unique position of being able to get information on an inmate's crime associates, and loved ones. In return, he gets protection from other inmates. But each time he leaves his body, the threads that keep him anchored to the earth fray. What will happen when all the strings that hold him to this life snap? Where will he go? I really enjoyed this book. The mystery of who actually killed John's teacher evolves into a tangled web that could possibly include people he thought he could trust, and motives he cannot fathom. Will he be killed next to keep him silent? I thought the book did a great job of showing prison culture in a juvenile detention center. I enjoyed that I learned about a place totally at odds with my own life experiences. Exposing myself to situations I could never know about is one of the great joys of reading. This books does it in a fun, thrilling manner.
Holding Smoke is a story about a teen who's locked up for murder. However, he claims that while he accidentally killed the one kid, he did not kill his teacher. Unfortunately, the evidence proves otherwise. You'd think the story would be just about that but John has a certain ability. He's able to leave his body and become incorporeal. He's been able to survive in the juvenile rehabilitation center by secretly using his ability to gain knowledge about his fellow inmates and help give them insight on what's going on with their family/friends on the outside. However, things quickly change for John and he finds himself on the receiving end of a lot of attacks. Someone doesn't want him to find out the truth about who really killed his teacher. Holding Smoke was so much better than what I was expecting. I will be honest and say that I wasn't sure if the author could pull it off or not. I mean, the boy's in juvie after all. I was worried that things would get pushed to the wayside and his life in juvie would be overlooked. That was not the case at all. We live in the moment with John through his days at juvie as well as his incorporeal excursions. John was one of those characters that you immediately liked. Which is strange since you go in knowing he killed a kid. However, you look past that to the kid he is... and he's not all that bad. He does things for others, sometimes he does it for favors in return but still, he takes this green-eyed kid under his wing and helps him out when he'd surely be attacked by the other inmates, he even cares deeply for other peoples suffering and pain. Like I said, John is not a bad kid. He had a really crappy childhood. One in which his father bashed him over the head with a wrench, causing him to be legally dead for six minuted until the EMT's could revive him. Which, wound up giving him his ability to leave his body. John was definitely not a one dimensional character. Not at all. This is a bit like a thriller and mystery with very light romance wrapped within. I mean, you have John who's on the inside trying to figure out who really killed his teacher, the lady who was going to become his legal guardian. Meanwhile, those he seeks help from on the outside are being attacked and he's being sought after as well by other inmates. The whole thing has you jumping to conclusions as to who the "hoodie guy" is. I mean, at one point I was wondering if maybe it was just a coping mechanism that John had conjured up to deal with what he'd done. The whole thing had me on the edge of my seat and just when the moment came I realized how horribly wrong I'd been about everything! By far, my absolute favorite part of the whole dang book was the author's note. Why, you might be asking? Because she is/was a warden's daughter! There's a part in the book where the warden invited John over to his house for Thanksgiving. I kid you not, they release the boy like he's free, dress him up, and drive him over to the warden's house for a family meal like it's all fine and dandy. Meanwhile, in the back of my head I'm thinking to myself, "Yeah right. Like this would ever happen in real life." I was completely rolling my eyes at it all. Then I realized it DID happen in real life. Her father had an inmate over to their house one Thanksgiving when she was a kid! My jaw just about hit the floor. Then the author goes on to talk about how there was another inmate who she knew for some of the better deeds he did while under her father's watc