Abundant alcohol and a devil-may-care attitude fuel this realistically penned novel about young men in their late teens whose drinking leads to a disastrous outcome.
Jason’s dad has high hopes for the future of his 17-year-old son, soon to graduate from the local honor high school. However, Jason’s grades are suffering because he consumes alcohol freely throughout the day and prefers partying with friend Brian, who shares his love of drink, to studying.
The book covers seven days, from Friday through Thursday, beginning with a severely drunken Brian making the fatal mistake of driving home a young woman he just met. What occurs next impacts both young men in ways they never imagined, leading one to rethink his life six months later and the other to wallow in denial.
Author Jeremy Stevens is himself a recovering alcoholic who took a great fall after having become successful as a middle school principal in North Carolina. His alcohol addiction led to jail and homelessness for a time. That personal experience lends validity to his characters and situations presented, which ring true.
The author has a good handle on bro talk (“Jed n’ I’r headin’ to Slang’s for a little fireside in the basement… You game?”). His writing creates vivid pictures as well. (“The man at the curve with the blood soaked face looked more like a shocking phantasmagoric flash from a Wes Craven thriller. . . The man was emotionless, perfectly still, a Halloween prop.”)
On the downside, the plot is predictable and the tragic outcome lacks the emotional resonance one would expect under the circumstances. Despite the uneven presentation, the novel is a sobering tale that could potentially influence teen readers to make more clear-eyed decisions about alcohol consumption.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.