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By author: Katherine Holubitsky
Selling Points: Addiction, brothers, family breakdown
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Apr/01/2008
Lexile Level: 750
Pages: 192
Fiction Ages 13+
Price:  $12.95
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It's around three o'clock when I hear the jingle of the bell attached to the door. I am moving boxes in the storeroom. Wiping my hands on my jeans, I walk through the doorway to the front of the store. At first, I think I'm seeing things. A ghost is coming toward the counter. It's running toward me: a skeleton covered in jaundiced skin. Quick and spastic, it has started talking before I realize it's my brother. Still, I can't stop staring at this weird and jerky marionette. There are deep hollows where his cheeks used to be and his arms—dangling from the sleeves of his T-shirt—are freakishly thin. A ripe odor makes me take a step back when he comes up close.

Sixteen-year-old Gordie Jessup is a good kid but he's living a nightmare. His eighteen-year-old brother Chase's two-year addiction to crystal meth has left their family emotionally and financially drained. And just when Gordie thinks he can no longer stand the manipulating, the lying and the stealing, things get even worse. Chase is arrested for aggravated assault, released on bail and sent home to his family. But his dealers are after him and Chase appeals to Gordie for help. Gordie, disgusted with his brother and fully aware that it's a gamble, risks everything he has in the hope of bringing his family some peace.
Jeunesse - June 1, 2010
"Portrays the overwhelming combination of anger, sadness, and bewilderment that families experience in the face of the wily yet irrational behaviour of a crystal methamphetamine addict...An important and difficult story...that leaves an indelible mark.
VOYA - October 1, 2009
"This compelling book is written in clear, age-appropriate prose...A suitable choice as a result of its fast-paced plot and conversational tone."
The Brandon Sun - May 17, 2009
"While it could be moralizing, this fine writer's ability to tell a powerful and heartbreaking story does not allow for that...This is a book that should be shared in high school classrooms. Kids would be well served to hear it and to talk about its issues."
Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy - March 1, 2009
"A fast-paced, cohesive story...Holubitsky's writing is solid and the story well-paced, making this book a viable option for reluctant readers and students, ages 13 or older who prefer realistic fiction."
Southwest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries (SWON) - December 1, 2008
"Gordie tells a heart wrenching story of what it is like to have an addict in the family and watch the destruction this habit is causing himself and his parents...Very realistic." - September 1, 2008
"A powerful book about addiction, its wide-ranging effects, and the toll it takes on all those it touches."
Canadian Children's Book News - August 1, 2008
"The novel is fast-paced, compelling and highly readable, and should be used as an essential text for drug education in high schools."
KLIATT - July 1, 2008
"A gripping story."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books - May 1, 2008
"A painfully authentic exploration...Poignantly demonstrates the fact that the addict's agony is only the beginning."
CM Magazine - April 4, 2008
"A story of hope tempered with a dose of hard reality...Effective and compelling. Highly recommended."
Resource Links - April 1, 2008
"A powerful novel."
The Globe and Mail - March 22, 2008
"Eye-opening... riveting."


White Pine nominee, short-listed  CA  2009
Resource Links "The Year's Best", commended  CA  2008
SYRCA Snow Willow nominee, short-listed  CA  2009
Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2010
CCBC Best Books, commended  CA  2009

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