A taut psychological thriller for teens
Seventeen-year-old Jeff thought he would never again have to deal with his older brother, a convicted murderer serving a life sentence. But after six years, Troy's sentence has been overturned on a technicality and he is released from prison. He returns to a family deeply divided about having him back home. Jeff can't forget how his life was disrupted by his brother, how his family had to move to another state and start over. Still, his parents believe things will be different now. But Troy's return makes a mess of Jeff 's life – at home, at school, and with his girlfriend. When Jeff 's rival on the soccer field turns up missing, Jeff suspects Troy is involved, and he sets out to prove it. But nothing could prepare Jeff for what happens as he gets closer to the truth.
With unexpected flashes of humor, David Klass once again gives readers a gripping, multilayered novel about good and evil and the powerful bonds of family.
Dark Angel is a 2006 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
When Jeff's older brother a convicted murderer is unexpectedly pardoned from his life sentence, he comes to live with his family in a small New Jersey town. Jeff is suspicious of his brother from the beginning, even though Troy seems like "a model of rehabilitation," acting overly polite to his parents and landing a job at a local supermarket. Jeff is afraid of what will happen when word spreads, too, and does not even tell his best friend about Troy's return. But when a local golden boy goes missing after fighting with Troy, the family secret gets out. Readers will find the premise fascinating, and will empathize immediately with Jeff, whose girlfriend's father forbids her to talk to him and whose own family is being torn apart by suspicion, pain and guilt (his mother is even hospitalized). Jeff tackles a school paper on evil and human behavior, and struggles with complicated emotions towards his brother (Troy likewise admits his pain at being abandoned in prison). The family drama gives way to a true murder mystery; this plot line gains momentum and culminates in a thrilling, if predictable, final face-off. Overall, this is a dark, gripping novel, even if it leaves some questions unanswered. Ages 12-up.