Genre: Junior Novel
Steve is in jail. He knows the truth about what he did or didn’t do, but knowing that isn’t going to be enough to keep him from serving a serious sentence if he’s convicted. Despite being alone in high school, Steve has a real passion for making movies and to help himself deal with his feelings about what’s going on in his life, he decides to write everything in the third person, like a movie script. As we read between Steve’s diary entries and his script, we follow the trial and look back at his own experiences. We can see his anguish and fear as the legal system wreaks havoc on Steve’s life and sense of identity.
This is a quick but quite powerful read. Steve is an extremely empathetic character – by the end of the book, she had strangely motherly feelings for him. The plot design of the script was an interesting twist, but I felt like the diary sections of him really dug into it. The idea of knowing that there are adults who see you as a “freak” and trying to process whether to believe that or not, despite everything. That’s kind of traumatic. Taking a look at the criminal justice system and a child caught up in it, this book has a lot to think about and discuss. I think even high school students could appreciate the depth of what is going on here.