Sixteen-year-old Nick Macklin’s life has been divided in two. Before and After. Before his father went to jail, and After.
Before, he was a talented hockey player, an A student, in love with his girlfriend, Sherry, and had the greatest dad in the world, a man who not only was there for him after his mom died of cancer, but who was also a star player for the Vancouver Canucks.
Then the bottom fell out. His father was convicted of murder and given a life sentence for a crime Nick is convinced he didn’t commit.
Now living with his dad’s agent, the only thing that keeps Nick going is a burning desire to seek justice for his father. Who framed him? And why? Drifting away from everything and everyone who matters, Nick spends his days roaming the city, looking for the bald man with a limp who is the key to answering these questions: the man his father swears planted the evidence that led to his conviction.
Finding him is like looking for a needle in a haystack – until Nick stumbles on a very real clue, an eye-opening revelation that just might save his father… and himself.
This is a really unique young-adult novel. It starts off with an interesting premise, but somehow it fell a little flat for me. It’s entertaining and a decent mystery, but it was a little too predictable for me. Maybe I’m past the age where the revelation of the killer is new and exciting. Maybe I’m a cynic that just guesses the twist by questioning everyone’s motives. I saw the murderer a mile away, but I think it would be a little harder to guess for younger teens.
I also thought this book was oriented more toward teenage males than females since it was so hockey-oriented, but it could be enjoyable for girls too. What I really liked about Nick was that his passion to release his dad from prison was nice to read about, and it’s really rare in teenage characters. Most teenage characters that are written are more introspective and (let’s be honest) selfish. It’s not a bad thing since all of us were probably a little selfish at that age, but Nick was admirable in his selflessness. I just wish he’d been faced with more of a challenge. Things seemed to fall into his lap a little too easily.
It’s not a bad read, but definitely only recommended for younger readers. It would be great as a starter book to promote literacy in teens.