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It's been five years since I clicked Send.Four years since I got out of juvie.Three months since I changed my name.Two minutes since I met Julie. A second to change my life.All Dan wants for his senior...
It's been five years since I clicked Send.Four years since I got out of juvie.Three months since I changed my name.Two minutes since I met Julie. A second to change my life.All Dan wants for his senior...
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  • It's been five years since I clicked Send.

    Four years since I got out of juvie.

    Three months since I changed my name.

    Two minutes since I met Julie. A second to change my life.

    All Dan wants for his senior year is to be invisible. This is his last chance at a semi-normal life. Nobody here knows who he is. Or what he's done. But on his first day at school, instead of turning away like everyone else, Dan breaks up a fight. Because Dan knows what it's like to be terrorized by a bully—he used to be one.

    Now the whole school thinks he's some kind of hero—except Julie. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn't really Daniel...

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Starting Again...Again

    A punch to the jaw wasn't how I imagined starting my first day at another new school, but fate had a warped sense of humor.

    As a big jock pinned a skinny nerd to the dusty hood of a Civic, I wondered how I, a guy famous for causing a tragedy, was now the only person around to prevent one. I scanned the parking lot, but it was deserted except for the two guys locked in a tense clinch and me. If I'd left a minute later or gotten stuck at one more traffic light, I could have been just another kid on the cafeteria line, hearing the buzz. "Hey, did you hear about the fight in the parking lot this morning?" Instead, I was the skinny kid's only hope.

    Can you say "ironic"? an annoying voice asked in my mind. Suppose you plan to swoop in and save this kid or something.

    On a rising tide of panic, I realized I had no other choice. The skinny kid looked ready to pee his pants.

    The voice in my head snorted. You're an idiot.

    I rolled my eyes but didn't bother saying anything out loud. Engaging the voice in conversation only amped up its determination to annoy the crap out of me.

    You have two options, the voice said. Do something or do nothing.

    Yeah. Thanks for that probing insight. With a loud sigh, I cursed my luck and the god who took such perverted delight in twisting it. I guess suffering the kind of trauma I had probably caused some mental health issues.

    Probably?

    Okay, I amended with an eye roll, definitely some mental health issues. As long as I didn't actually listen to a thing the voice told me to do, I wasn't technically crazy, right? I didn't need help, especially the kind that comes from a little white pill or, worse, a mandatory hospital stay. I had it under control.

    Dude, be smart. You break up this fight, you're making an enemy, and you can't afford that, not if you want to keep your secret. Just ignore it.

    For most people, the little voice in their heads was the voice of reason, a conscience or something. But mine was more like a mirror that reflected the things about me I wished nobody could ever see. He said to ignore it because he knew I'd want to more than anything else in the world.

    Because he knew I couldn't.

    "You're a loser, Dellerman! Always were, always will be."

    Cruel words, words I'd heard-worse-words I'd used dozens of times struck the kid called Dellerman, making him flinch.

    I grabbed the door handle.

    Don't do it, man.

    Save your breath. We both already knew that I would. I lived with one kid's blood on my hands. I couldn't handle one more.

    The jock was built like some prehistoric caveman, all protruding facial bones and muscle. Lots of muscle. He hauled Dellerman off the Civic's hood by the kid's shirt and shook him. The tendons in Dellerman's thin neck popped into view as he struggled. I opened my car door, rehearsing how I'd tell my parents why we'd have to move again after what I was about to do.

    You think saving this one is gonna make up for the one you killed?

    The words pounded a stake through my heart. I shook it off with a don't-you-get-it laugh. I was hoping to save three, not one. Forgiveness was too much to ask for, and I understood that. But maybe a bit of mercy wasn't. If I did enough good things, maybe I wouldn't spend eternity barbecuing over an open pit in hell. Sure, I didn't want to see this Dellerman kid beaten up, but I also hoped to spare the caveman from the regrets that kicked my ass every damn...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 18, 2012
    Blount’s first novel is a morality play about releasing the past and seizing the present. Five years ago, Dan was sentenced to almost a year in juvenile detention for his role in the suicide of his former friend Liam. Now at age 18, Dan and his family have assumed new identities and moved several times, hiding from Liam’s violent father, but Dan can’t escape the weight of guilt or “Kenny,” the antagonistic voice in his head (Kenny is Dan’s birth name). On his first day of school in yet another new town, Dan stops a jock, Jeff, from beating up an outcast kid named Brandon; he makes an enemy and a friend in the process, while developing a complicated crush on a classmate, Julie, who, interestingly enough, has the same last name as Liam. For someone seeking redemption and a second chance, Dan is surprisingly judgmental, especially toward Julie, boosting the story’s tension as they spar. Though the plot is overly dependent on coincidence, the ethical debates raised will engage readers. Ages 13–up. Agent: Evan Gregory, Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2012
    Incarcerated five years ago for sending a photo of a classmate in character underwear to all of his friends--resulting in the boy's suicide--18-year-old Kenny has since been on the move with his family, seeking anonymity. Starting his senior year at a new school with an assumed name, Dan, he immediately gets himself in trouble when he stops a bully from beating up perennial victim Brandon. He is horrified to realize that pretty senior Julie was watching but didn't help. Dan is attracted to Julie but angered by her unwillingness to come to Brandon's aid as the bullying continues unabated. Their bumpy relationship is plagued by their inability to resolve that basic issue. Good Samaritanism comes up repeatedly in a public-speaking class they share, always causing more strife. Coincidences--or hints--abound: Julie's bullied half brother committed suicide five years ago, and her last name is the same as Dan/Kenny's victim. Dan also struggles with guilt, as evidenced by a sarcastic alter-ego voice in his head, "Kenny," with whom he shares sometimes-confusing conversations, in which Kenny speaks in italics: "Oh, man, this is hilarious, Kenny said. I shot him a glare." Dan's likable first-person voice rings with authenticity, but the improbably contrived, slow-moving plot undermines this debut. Though predictable, this offering may be relevant for those looking for more books on the ever-important topic of bullying. (Fiction. 12 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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