A tender-souled boy reeling from the death of his best friend struggles to fit into a world that wants him to grow up tough and unfeeling in this stunning middle grade novel in verse from the Newbery Honor–winning author of Genesis Begins Again.
It’s the last few months of eighth grade, and Isaiah feels lost. He thought his summer was going to be him and his boys Drew and Darius, hanging out, doing wheelies, watching martial arts movies, and breaking tons of Guiness World Records before high school. But now, more and more, Drew seems to be fading from their friendship, and though he won’t admit it, Isaiah knows exactly why. Because Darius is…gone.
A hit and run killed Darius in the midst of a record-breaking long wheelie when Isaiah should have been keeping watch, ready to warn: “CAR!” Now, Drew can barely look at Isaiah. But Isaiah, already quaking with ache and guilt, can’t lose two friends. So, he comes up with a plan to keep Drew and him together—they can spend the summer breaking records, for Darius.
But Drew’s not the same Drew since Darius was killed, and Isaiah, being Isaiah, isn’t enough for Drew anymore. Not his taste in clothes, his love for rock music, or his aversion to jumping off rooftops. And one day something unspeakable happens to Isaiah that makes him think Drew’s right. If only he could be less sensitive, more tough, less weird, more cool, less him, things would be easier. But how much can Isaiah keep inside until he shatters wide open?
Alicia D. Williams is the author of Genesis Begins Again, which received Newbery and Kirkus Prize honors, was a William C. Morris Award finalist, and for which she won the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent; and picture books Jump at the Sun and The Talk which was also a Coretta Scott King Honor book. An oral storyteller in the African American tradition, she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Danica Novgorodoff is an artist, writer, graphic designer, and horse wrangler who lives in Kentucky. Her books include Jason Reynolds’s Long Way Down graphic novel. She was awarded a 2015 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in literature and was named Sarabande Books’s 2016 writer-in-residence. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Blue Mountain Center, VCCA, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, and Willapa Bay AiR. Visit her online at DanicaNovgorodoff.com.