I am fairly certain that every person has something they look back on with regret. Some people, though, have much worse regrets than others. Take Sebastian Cody, for example. When he was only four years old, he accidentally shot and killed his four month old baby sister. Can you even imagine the shame and depression that could stem from such a horrific tragedy?
This story takes place ten years after that tragedy, the summer after Sebastian’s ninth grade year. His mom is insistent that he have a “productive” summer, but he really doesn’t see the point. After all, he plans to kill himself at the end of the summer. All of his troubles began with a gun shot, and he plans to end them the same way. But then, a new girl moves into his neighborhood. Aneesa isn’t like anyone he’s ever met before. Not only is she a Muslim girl who wears a hijab, but she is so straight-forward that she often surprises Sebastian with her blunt honesty. It’s nice just to have a friend who doesn’t judge him for what he did all those years ago, but he wonders whether everything would change if only she knew the truth. Much like Jay Asher’s What Light, this book expertly explores coming of age, friendship, and self-forgiveness.
I have always been intrigued by serial killers. I am so utterly fascinated, in fact, that I managed to scare a student worker at my college library during my freshman year. You see, I used to go during my [6-hour-long] breaks between Tuesday classes to watch A&E Biography videos about serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz in the media lab. One week, he asked what class I was studying for. When I replied that it was “just for fun,” he practically threw the video at me before running and hiding in the back office! Luckily, I happened to meet him at a later time through some mutual friends and I was able to set his mind at ease. Up until I had the chance to explain myself, he called me “the creepy serial killer girl” and worried that I was studying up so I wouldn’t get caught! Though I no longer frequent the library to watch A&E Biography videos about serial killers, I have watched enough of them (and reality-based shows like Crossing Jordan, Law & Order, Castle, and Criminal Minds) that I have a frighteningly thorough knowledge of serial killer pathology and the methods of the law enforcement officials who try to catch them. When one of my teens told me about this book, therefore, I knew I had to read it.
Though he is pretty average and a fairly nice guy, most people in town wouldn’t be surprised if Jasper Dent was secretly a serial killer. Why? Because his dad, Billy Dent, killed into the triple digits by the time he was caught. Everyone seems to be afraid that Jasper is a killing spree just waiting to happen; well, everyone except his best friend, Howie, and girlfriend, Connie. So, after a dead body shows up in Lobo’s Nod, Jasper is determined to help the police. Even though Sheriff G. William Tanner does his best to dissuade his involvement, Jasper keeps insisting that he needs to help — because he’s sure it’s a serial killer [even though the police don’t think so], because he knows how serial killers think, and because he wants to clear his own name.
I was enjoying this audiobook so much that I jokingly told my husband I was going to make him listen to it when I was done. He agreed that it sounded good, so we decided to actually start it over (even though I was at 96%!) and listen to it together on our weekend roadtrip without the kids. We finished all but half an hour by the time we got home and we couldn’t imagine leaving it for later… So, we listened while we unpacked our bags and sorted laundry! Since then, I have read the prequel (an e-novella) and downloaded the second audiobook from OverDrive.com. The third book comes out in September on the day after my birthday. Coincidence? I think not! 😉