Dooley’s life is lived in a fishbowl. Everyone — his uncle with whom he lives, his manager at the video store, the vice-principal at his school — is watching him, waiting for him to mess up again. Dooley has a past with alcohol, drugs, and something even more serious, but he’s done his time and he’s trying his best to stay clean. One night he gets off work early and decides to go for a walk instead of going straight home. He doesn’t tell his uncle because he knows his uncle would tell him to get his butt home, but he just needs a little time to himself without the watchful eyes of everyone expecting him to fail. Little does he know that his innocent walk would set off a chain of events that would threaten to take away everything he’s worked for. Alone in the ravine, Dooley sees somebody fall off the bridge and land splat on the ground. The guy is dead. The problem, it’s a guy Dooley knows and a guy he doesn’t particularly like, so when the police realize who Dooley is, what he did in the past, and his connection to the dead guy, they start to get mighty suspicious about whether the guy’s fall off the bridge was accidental or not. When another boy with a connection to Dooley ends up dead, the police’s investigation of Dooley heats up. Will all of Dooley’s hard work at his second chance be for nothing?
Reaction: I really, really, really liked this book. Mainly, it was because of Dooley. I loved Dooley. Dooley has gone through so much already in his 17 years and, what I think is so awesome, is truly trying to do better things with his life. While he has a great support system, of sorts, in his uncle, all of his uncle’s monitoring wouldn’t do a lick of good if Dooley wasn’t willing to play along. All Dooley wants is to get through school, maybe go on a date or two with his crush, graduate, and get out of town. I guess you can’t blame people for being tough on Dooley because of his past but I wanted to yell at them sometimes and tell them to give him a bit of slack, he’s doing the best he can. Dooley makes some dumb choices but it’s hard to blame him for them and none of them would be all that bad if it wasn’t for the cloud that already hangs over him. I found it fascinating to read about Dooley, figuring out who he is now and seeing glimpses of who he was before. I liked watching him build tentative relationships with others after being so alone, like with his uncle, Warren, and even Beth. I figured out the who of the mystery by about half-way through but I had no idea about the why or the how so knowing didn’t ruin the mystery at all. Plus, the story was more about Dooley and his transformation than the mystery. The mystery added tests and hurdles for Dooley on his reformation, I guess you would call it. Did I mention I love Dooley, well, I love Dooley.
What’s Next: Apparently more Dooley books. Yeah! Norah McClintock’s website talks about another book soon, I couldn’t find any information on title or exact release (just Spring 2009 and I’m thinking this might be for Canada not US).