*I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Release Date: September 7th 2017
Summary (From Goodreads):
‘They think I hurt someone.
But I didn’t. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.’
Joe hasn’t seen his brother for ten years, and it’s for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.
But now Ed’s execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think …
From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?
Sarah Crossan has a wonderful way with words. I love how well you get to know the characters in short bursts of words: like One this is told in verse, which isn’t something I’d normally go for, but you just can’t knock her powerful, poetic style.
Joe’s brother, Ed is on death row, for a crime he says he hasn’t committed. They haven’t seen each other for ten years, but now the execution date is set, Joe wants to spend as much time as he can with him. Their relationship has changed as they’ve grown up away from each other, and now they only have two weeks left to get to know each other and say goodbye.
This book was a lovely blend of the present, as Joe struggles to pay his way at a crappy motel in Texas so he can be near his brother, and the past, as we see flashbacks of the brother he knew compared to the one about to be executed for murder. Both help to build characters that are so fleshed out and real that you’ll feel their hardship and want to cry with them.
There were a few teary moments in the book for me, but the ending is where it’ll really grab you by the heartstrings. It’s a frank look at police brutality and the flaws in the justice system. If there’s anyone who still thinks we should bring back capital punishment in this country then I’d urge them to read this book. Not everything is as straight forward as it first appears, and everyone has someone who will grieve for them, whether that’s the cop that was killed, the person accused of doing it, or the person giving the order for the execution.
This is an emotional read with characters that will live in your head long after you turn the last page. It’s not a happy story, but it’s a powerful one that I’d recommend.