Marc Solie is running for his life. He thinks he has killed a security guard at the horrible, abusive detention camp he's been sentenced to. Now he and his dog are wandering through the bleak California wilderness, not sure where they are or even where they can go to find safety.
As Marc walks and hitchhikes north, he thinks back to how he got sent to Camp Heritage in the first place. Through flashbacks, readers learn about Marc's little sister's death from leukemia, his parents' difficult grieving process, and his own, sometimes violent, attempts to get his parents to notice him again. Readers also learn more about the horrific circumstances that led Marc to attack the camp guard and flee for his life.
This storytelling style, gradually revealing details of Marc's past, should be suspenseful, and at times it is. However, the teasing repetition of past events, often stopping just short of telling critical details, can cause frustration. Nevertheless, Marc's story, especially his discouraging attempts to manage his own grief after his sister's death, is compelling and sympathetic.
Although this is not one of the more successful efforts from Edgar Award-winning novelist Willo Davis Roberts, it will still keep readers engaged and rooting for Marc to find safety and forgiveness.
--- Reviewed by Norah Piehl