Publishers Weekly Review
When police enter the squalid apartment of petty criminal Bryce Harris, they discover seven-year-old Eddie and his catatonic mother. Taken into custody, Eddie leaves the apartment for the first time in years. Despite loving foster parents and, later, a supportive adoptive family, Eddie-now Edward-struggles to hide the damage done by years of abuse and neglect, even as he tries to present a front of normalcy. Selected to assist in an anthropologist's demonstration of age-progression software during a school trip, Edward, now 15, is horrified to see Harris's face staring back at him. The realization that Harris was his father sends Edward spiraling out of control. Could he become the same inhuman monster his father was? Rotating among the perspectives of Edward and various people in his life (neighbors, social workers, foster parents, etc.), Fine (The Road of Bones) movingly traces Edward's long struggle to cope with a world he was ill prepared to enter. The realistic and varied viewpoints of the many characters she introduce will keep readers fully invested in a story that's tragic but not hopeless. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-From the ages of four to seven, Edward lives in an abusive situation with his mother and her hard-drinking partner, Harris. One day, while Harris beats Edward's mother senseless, an elderly neighbor calls the authorities. The severe beatings his mother endured have resulted in permanent brain damage, and she is sent to an institution. Edward spends time with a kind foster family before his adoption by the Steads. The adjustment to a normal life does not happen quickly. On a school field trip to a science museum, Edward is chosen to be aged up by a computer to show what he will look like as an adult. To his shock, he discovers that he looks just like his mother's abusive partner and that Harris is his biological father. This leads to a downward spiral of drugs and drinking as Edward realizes that he, too, has the potential to become a monster. In this riveting tale of nurture vs. nature, the complexities of family, identity, and the lasting impact of abuse are explored. Edward is a well-rounded character who is finally saved by the love of his adopted family and his own resilience. Told from multiple perspectives, the novel is at times quite dark and is somewhat reminiscent of Melvin Burgess's Smack. VERDICT A brutal and hopeful book that deals with addiction, choices, influences, and inherited traits that should find a home in most YA collections.-Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas, Denton © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
As she did in The Tulip Touch (1996), Fine explores the insidious effects of a traumatic childhood. Edward Taylor spent three years locked in the apartment of his mother's abusive partner, Harris. Rescued at age seven, Edward is turned over to two loving families: first, the Radletts, and eventually, the Steads. Though his mother Lucy, having suffered severe physical and psychological damage, is permanently entrusted to sheltered housing, Edward is deemed relatively unscathed. He's even managed to retain a boundless sense of curiosity and thirst for knowledge. But when he's abruptly confronted by his own startling resemblance to Harris, Edward finds a long-suppressed past catching up with him in the most gruesome of ways. Told in five parts from regularly alternating perspectives, including those of Edward's social worker, adoptive sister, teachers, and Edward himself, Fine's narrative turns an unflinching lens on issues of free will, family, and individuality. Tenderly crafted and thoroughly thought-provoking, give this one to teens hungry for discussion and a dose of gritty realism.--Shemroske, Briana Copyright 2017 Booklist