Kevin Craig knows how to write teenage boys.
When I was first approved for this book via NetGalley and went to send it to my kindle I was pretty aggravated. It was an Adobe Editions file. I was going to have to sit at my laptop and read this entire book if I was to review this. Then I saw it was only 147 pages and figured I could make it through. I would have sat on a bed of nails with my laptop if Craig was willing to write me 1,000 pages. This book is good.
Each character is well developed and has a unique voice. Trig is the best friend everyone wishes they had in their life. Georgia seems to have a heart of gold. Francis is coping with tragedy and bullying and still somehow manages to be compassionate and funny. I wanted to stay in his head forever.
This story is pretty heavy. It tells Francis’s horrific backstory through a series of flashbacks. You can’t help but want to hug him as you learn how his abusive father tried to kill him and scarred him for life.
Additionally, Francis deals with severe bullying at school because of his disfigurements. Watching him deal (and not deal) with it is hard because Craig makes you simultaneously feel terrible for him and like he needs to freaking do something about it!
In fact, Craig’s story made me feel a lot of conflicting emotions as I read it. The story is that good.
My one critique would be that Rachel’s part in the plot is somewhat underdeveloped. She comes into the story rather suddenly and I couldn’t quite reconcile why she liked Francis at all. As sad as it is, being bullied is not necessarily an attractive quality in a guy and Rachel cites this as the reason she notices him. I would have liked to have seen their friendship develop a little bit more before any kind of romance blossomed. As it’s written, Rachel almost seems drawn to Francis because he’s someone she can teach , protect, and fix. They don’t seem to be equals.
Regardless, I highly recommend this book- especially to fans of Winger. The story is short, but poignant. You won’t regret taking a couple of hours to read it.