Library Journal (starred review)
Fifteenyearold Jude believes that his mother abandoned him at birth. When his heroindealer father is murdered, the authorities discover that he is the son of DA and mayoral candidate Anna Grady, and that he was kidnapped by his father at three weeks old. His mother welcomes him into her comfortable life and sends him to an exclusive prep school. When a schoolmate dies of an overdose, Jude, though innocent, is implicated. His mother's boyfriend, Harry, the deputy police commissioner, convinces him to take part in an elaborate charade to help Anna get elected on an antidrug platform. Harry promises that once she's elected he will come forward with evidence that Jude is innocent. Instead, Jude is tried as an adult, sent to the state penitentiary for five years, and finds that Harry never meant to get him out at all. The plot is tight, deliberately paced, and full of delicious twists. Unlike many suspense novels, the characters are as thoroughly developed as the story. Jude, especially, is lovingly writtenselfconscious and highly moral, with an angry toughness that balances him into believability. The dialogue, especially between Harry and Jude, is fluid, charged, and revelatory instead of expository...the story is quick and action packed enough to engage reluctant readers, especially older boys.
Booklist Review (starred review)
In her YA debut, adult thriller writer Morgenroth tells the compelling story of Jude, 15, who is caught in a world of murder, drugs, and coverups that reaches into his Connecticut home and highschool. The action is fast as Jude confronts the worst and best in himself, and the story reveals surprising secrets about people Jude thinks he can trust. Sworn to silence by the killer of his violent drugdealing dad, Jude moves into the wealthy home of the mother he has never known, and switches to an elite private school. His mother is up for reelection as district attorney, and to save her reputation he pleads guilty to a drug crime he didn't commit. He spends the next five years in prison, where he suffers constant abuse. Always he struggles to avoid being like his dad and he longs for recognition from the mother who treats him like a stranger. There's a minimum of cursing and obscenity but the dialogue still sounds pitchperfect, and the intricacies of betrayal and discovery continue to the end of the novel. Readers will be caught by the thrilling mystery as well as Jude's fear, shame, anger and search for home.
Jude, a likable, wellmeaning teenager, endures multiple betrayals in this absorbing thriller. After the 15yearold's abusive, drugdealing father is murdered in front of him, he's reunited with his mother, Anna, who his father had told him was dead. An ambitious, successful district attorney, she willingly takes Jude in but has no time for him. Lonely and struggling academically, Jude hopes to make friends by introducing a popular fellow student to a drug dealer from his old, poor neighborhood. When the student overdoses, Jude's life starts taking insidious twists and turns that lead him to prison and later to a dark, surprising search for Justice. Although Jude is the only character fully developed here, his generous nature and longing for a family will win readers' sympathy, as they grow increasingly outraged at the villainous acts of those around him.