Lucas wants to speak out against the injustices he sees at his school, but he’s paralyzed by social anxiety. He decides to start an anonymous online video channel, disguise his face and voice, and expose the things no one dares to talk about. But when Lucas blames the student council president for harming another student, her powerful parents become involved to unmask the social crusader. Afraid to lose the ground he gained with the videos, but even more afraid to speak out in public, Lucas must find a way to keep his voice from going silent.
Sixteen-year-old Leo dreams of becoming a police officer and is on his way to earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He makes sure to always do the right thing and be responsible. With his mom deployed and his dad constantly working, Leo is often left in charge of his two younger siblings. Then Leo’s brother, Jack, gets caught up in a dangerous plot that rocks the community. Can Leo keep his promise to stand by his brother no matter what, or will he stand on the side of justice?
“In her heartfelt debut novel that explores the challenges facing military families left at home, Van effectively utilizes verse to impeccably convey the feelings of sadness, anger, displacement, and lack of belonging of young people on the brink of adulthood. Reluctant readers will enjoy exploring Leo’s loyalty to his family and ideals, strong threads woven through the fabric of this emotional story” – Kirkus Reviews
“Teens overwhelmed by a parent called up for active duty will connect with this quick read that depicts young people confronting life without the benefit of a consistent parental presence. This novel in verse is recommended for reluctant readers, especially in areas where there is a large military population.” -Denise Kim, Bronx High School of Science, NY