My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Completely and utterly original, this YA captivated me from page one.
Thanks to House of Anansi Press for the review copy of this title.
Isaac loves art class, drives an old pickup, argues with his father and hangs out with his best buddy, Hazel. But his life is anything but normal. His parents operate an illegal marijuana grow-op, Hazel is a bear that guards the property, and his family’s livelihood is a deep secret.
It’s no time to fall in love with the daughter of a cop.
Isaac’s girlfriend Sam is unpredictable, ambitious and needy. And as his final year of high school comes to an end, she makes him consider a new kind of life pursuing his interest in art, even if that means leaving behind his beloved home in the Rockies and severing all ties with his family.
For a while he hopes he can have it all, until a disastrous graduation night, when Sam’s desperate grab for her father’s attention suddenly puts his entire family at risk.
I have said again and again recently that I’m starting to rate more and more on originality and this book NAILED the quintessential feel of quality YA wrapped in a completely new storyline. I was fascinated with the premise of this book and couldn’t stop reading. It is a story with a TON of heart about secrets, family and growing up in a very, very unique setting. Anyone who has ever had to keep a secret or take care of an elderly relative will relate to this story so closely. Personally, growing up and living in rural wilderness areas make me able to relate to this one on many other levels as well.
I cried and I ached for Isaac as he tried to find his place in the world, but wasn’t left with a feeling of despair. And the BEARS. Oh, those bears.
Highly recommended for mature YA collections.