Nick, 17, is in a holding cell awaiting trial and telling his lawyer what happened. He begins with his admission of guilt: he killed someone. The identity of the victim isn’t revealed until the final pages, but the author sustains suspense with Nick’s short, simple recap of recent events. He is in a special-education program at his high school. His alcoholic father verbally abuses him every chance he gets, and calls him stupid and “thick.” The teen meets Alice and her boyfriend, who physically abuses her. Between helping his 18-year-old sister keep her plans to go to college a secret from her father, being tormented by a bully at school, and trying to help Alice escape her boyfriend, Nick begins to crack. With an intense emotional climax, he finds himself armed with a gun and facing all of his hopes and fears. The chapters are short—some are only a paragraph or two—and the action never stops, making the book ideal for reluctant readers. The narrative is conversational and easy to read. Even though readers know the outcome in the first few pages, they will want to know more about Nick and the answer to the ultimate question: Who did he kill?