I just had a flashback. My editor Mark McVeigh at HarperCollins for my first book, Jake Riley, Irreparably Damaged, called and left a voicemail because he was so excited about this review from Kirkus. He read the whole thing into my voicemail, and I saved that message for two years! I had forgotten about it entirely. I was just doing a search for other reasons–for PR for my new book Slider’s Son, and I found it. Since I’m dreading upcoming responses from reviewers, I thought I’d post it, as a reminder to myself, more than anything else.
“This probing exploration of whether a ninth-grader can already be “irreparably damaged” is upsetting and scary. Jake has recently moved from reform school to his father’s place on Lainey’s family’s farm. He taunts and hurts Lainey, but she’s caught inside a paradox: she knows that he’s truly dangerous, but she also resents the school’s labeling of him and snaps instinctively to protect him. Meanwhile, Lainey’s parents are equally unhelpful, refusing to believe her, so Lainey is caught in confusion between silence and words. Davis’s writing style works perfectly because it seems invisible. Everything from farm details to the atmosphere of dread is fully believable. Jake’s threats, which begin as sexual, eventually progress to a plan of killing Lainey with a .22. Several horrifying ends can be imagined along the way, but the one that actually occurs is no less grim for being unpredictable. (Fiction. YA)”