After Del died in a car accident, Ben started helping out on Del’s family’s farm. While working on the farm, Ben started to look out for and became friends with Del’s younger brother, Jimmy, in a capacity much like an older brother. After Jimmy was murdered, Ben felt guilty and escaped his home town by enlisting in the armed forces and heading to Afghanistan. This story is told from Ben’s perspective, in a diary-style letter to someone back home, as he reflects back over the series of events that lead to Jimmy’s death and explains why he feels responsible. The graphic description of Jimmy’s violent death definitely makes this a book for more mature readers, and I am sure some people would ultimately like to see this book banned. I think, nevertheless, that this suspense-filled story is a great way to draw in readers who might not otherwise think they’d enjoy a story that explores such heavy themes as homophobia and hate crimes. A definite departure from the apocalyptic world of Ashes, but equally well written.
Happy Banned Books Week!