Tyler looks like he’s got a great life from the outside. He lives in a nice house, his dad is a doctor, and with his grades he’s planning on following his dad’s footsteps. So to everyone else, it seems like he’s got it all. Only, that’s not Tyler’s life anymore. In reality, his mom is always drugged up by her meds for her mental disorder to function and Tyler’s dad drinks the second he gets home, then verbally and sometimes physically abuses Tyler.
One night it gets to a point where Tyler’s father kicks him out for good. Then Tyler is framed for providing drugs to a party where his ex-girlfriend’s brother overdosed, and he knows he can’t stay at his best friend Simon’s house, so Tyler plans to take off for good. Only, he feels guilty about leaving his mom at home with this father… even if it’s not his home anymore.
I’m not sure why I expected more of this story, given that it’s under 200 pages, but I did and I was disappointed. I mean, maybe if it was categorized as a middle-grade novel, it would be fine, but as a young-adult novella it’s a let-down.
The plot had great potential, but the execution didn’t live up to it. There should have been so much more angst and drama in a story like this; more depth and exploration. Given Tyler’s abuse, he should’ve had more inner turmoil that only got worse when he was all along with nowhere to stay and being framed for a crime he didn’t commit. In a book that tackles this kind of content, readers want to feel the character’s pain and be in the story with them (why us bookworms are like this, I have no idea, but we are). The book was just too short to go into that kind of detail, and it really should have.
Aside from the lack of depth in the story, there’s the issue of how it’s written. The narration is more like reading a younger middle grade book (as in, ages 9-10) where everything is just told to you. We’re just told the story, as opposed to being pulled into it and can see and feel what’s going on. It’s not on par with other young-adult novels that tackle similar subjects.
Part of me wants to give this a lower rating, but it’s not exactly horrible. Again, it’s just not exactly a young-adult novel in my opinion and shouldn’t be categorized as one. I still wouldn’t recommend this book either way because I really don’t think the plot is done any justice.
Rating: 2/5 stars