"Told in fractured vignettes that slowly converge to an emotional conclusion, Joel’s story explores themes of death, mental illness, and the effects of trauma on ordinary people—all without settling on definitive answers for why good people must sometimes suffer. Every character feels flawed and real, as do their struggles to find hope amid the horrors in the world. Reilly’s book offers readers a work of profound truth that will linger long after a reader finishes the final page."
"Despite the tough topics, the resolution leaves room for hope and growth... A high-interest read for its exploration of complex topics without simple answers."
"In a debut filled with heart and wit, Reilly draws a memorable portrait of a teen struggling with big problems beyond his control...This novel traces with remarkable sensitivity how a vulnerable adolescent becomes less absorbed in his own suffering as he reaches out to others."
"Joel Higgins's voice is just as strong as Holden [Caulfield]'s, but far more contemporary and far less problematic...It made me cry on two different occasions, definitely a mark of excellence."
"Joel’s voice has a grim, ironic humor that spins from the serious to the quotidian concerns of a sophomore in high school reeling from the aftermath of personal loss... With its spirit of ethical social commitment and its exploration of the what-ifs of being left behind after the death of your important person, this will have broad appeal for teen readers."
"Many characters deal with profound grief and devastating loss, which is explored honestly and unflinchingly. All of the teen characters have distinct and authentic voices...Contemporary issues such as PTSD, homeless veterans, and banned books are woven throughout, but never in an overly obvious or preachy manner...Recommended for readers who enjoy thoughtful realistic novels that cover difficult topics."