What would you do if you had to live one of the worst days of your life over and over again? After witnessing his younger brother Mark die in a horrific accident, Justin finds himself utterly isolated-from his friends, his girlfriend and his family. His only companion is an unceasing, unrelenting voice in his head. One year to the day of Mark's death, things go indescribably wrong for Justin, and in a fit of despair, he seeks to end his own life, only to wake up in that fateful day again and again. This dark, frenetically paced psychological novel is sure to mesmerize readers, as they follow Justin in his maddening struggle to distinguish between reality and illusion, and his struggle with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Morgenroth's writing is meticulous, to the point where her words are economical; a welcome change after many of the epic works for teens on the market. An ingenious twist at the end will surely leave its reader stunned. An electrifying read.
A year ago, Justin had a pesky younger brother. Now Mark is dead, and Justin is alienated from his parents and his former friends. His only social interaction seems to be with the voice that asks him nagging questions: "What are you doing now?" Justin pulls himself through a school day-ostracized at breakfast, ridiculed on the bus, attacked in the cafeteria, and derided in the auditorium by his ex-girlfriend. The day ends in another tragedy when Justin pushes his former best friend down a long flight of stairs. The reader, like Justin, is appalled to find that these events are repeated when he next awakes. Unlike the movie Groundhog Day, however, there is little humor, but there are subtle differences as Justin relives the day and then relives it yet again and again. Morgenroth creates a character from whom the reader cannot turn away, even as Justin's perceptions seem to become increasingly unreliable-or is it more reliable? … the story will appeal not only to readers of the likes of Patricia McCormick's Cut (Front Street, 2000/VOYA February 2001) but also to fans of Robert Cormier's suspenseful novels where psychological acuity is bound with physical danger.
Justin and his younger brother Mark are left home alone. While goofing around, Mark picks up a gun and accidentally kills himself. A year later, the family is understandably dysfunctional. Justin's mother ignores him, his father lectures him about his attitude, and his best friend bullies him in school. Justin's former girlfriend has turned against him and he ends up in the principal's office yet again after a hallway altercation. Or is something else going on? After readers are taken through Justin's day with him, another perspective is presented and the same day repeats itself. But it repeats itself with some minor yet significant changes, changes that lead us to wonder if the previous events happened that way at all. There is no doubt that Justin has lived through a traumatic accident, and the echo of that day continues to affect who he is and how he responds. In a third retelling, we start to piece together the "real" story, catching a glimpse of the boy in emotional trouble. Justin's story and the echoes of the day his brother was shot provide both an in-depth look at PTS syndrome and at the subtleties and significance of detail. Is it his mother who is distant or Justin? Is it Billy who bullies? Is it Mark who pulled the trigger? With each new detail revealed, the truth of that day and ultimately that accident slowly become apparent. Like Justin, we are compelled to find out the truth.