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Review: Right Behind You by Gail Giles

in a sentence or two: after a horrible (alleged) accident, Kip is trying to find some sense of normalcy as he transitions from a ward for juvenile delinquents into high school life. Kip has to keep to keep his past a secret, but how long do you keep such a sordid past locked inside?

Kip burned his 7 year old neighbor alive. he was only 9 at the time. to be fair, Kip was dealing with some pretty heavy stuff for a 9 year old - his mother had died of cancer, he lived with his dad out in the great Alaskan nowhere, and that neighbor kid was taunting Kip with his brand new baseball glove and teasing him that he didn't have a mom to give him one. but still...Kip took the gasoline, doused the glove (and neighbor in the process) and tossed the lighter. he wakes from a catatonic shock-coma 4 weeks later and prepares to spend the foreseeable future in juvie.

Kip's story starts from the accident in Alaska and transitions to his time in juvie. Giles was able to paint a pretty vivid picture of the fellow offenders, the process of rehabilitation and counseling, as well as Kip's inner thoughts as he grows older and living his life "behind bars" so to speak. it then moves along to high school which, lets be honest, is already anxiety-filled enough without being from no-where Alaska and having spent your childhood in juvie (which isn't really the best setting for social development). despite all that, he makes friends, does well in school, and even joins the varsity swim team. unfortunately, Kip finds that keeping his secret isn't easy...

let me just say that i LOVE Gail Giles. she writes some of the best nail-biters for young adults out there. but more than that, her books - including this one - have some honest, deep, and complicated characters. from Kip's shrink in juvie, to Kip's remorseful father, to his step-mom, even his teachers at his new school, the characters in this book are not perfect - but redeemable. the creativity and plot were incredible, but i feel the characters are what really made this book amazing. Giles also examines the psychology behind what was going on throughout Kip's journey, which i found fascinating.

i loved the first two Giles books i read: What Happened to Cass McBride and Shattering Glass. i was not disappointed with this one. heck, i was thrilled! i read the thing in 2 days (with working and having an all day seminar). for such a heavy theme, the book provides thoughtful reflection, how important the support of family can be, and the beauty of hope. this is a book i'd re-nerd over any day! i love you Gail Giles!

fave quote: "I turned ten. Ten. I should have been in boy scouts. I weighed sixty-two pounds. I had a loose back tooth. I had murdered another child." (18)

fix er up: i'm not sure there's anything i'd change about this. maybe, just maybe, have a more developed conclusion (aka - i want to know what happens after the story). that's not really a fix er up, more of my being so absorbed that i want to know everything that happens ever in the life of Kip.

title: Right Behind You
author: Gail Giles
genre: Egy, Problem Novel

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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