The summer before his senior year, Jude (yes, he's named after the Beatles song) gets his first job, falls in love for the first time, and starts to break away from his parents. Jude's house is kept dark, and no one talks much—it's been that way since his little sister drowned in a swimming pool seven years ago when Jude was supposed to be watching her.
Now, Jude is finally, finally starting to live. Really live. And then, life spins out of control. Again.
Acclaimed author James Preller explores life, death, love, faith, and resilience in his first young adult novel that will grip readers from the book's dramatic first few pages to its emotional end.
Like the Beatles' hit for which he's named, 16-year-old Jude Fox is, in fact, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. His is a gloomy story, conveyed by an omniscient narrator, which opens with a fatal car crash and flashes back to uncover an event just as tragic: the death of Jude's four-year-old sister, Lily, six years earlier. The circumstances of Lily's death are teased out by a good-looking cashier Jude meets at his summer job at Long Island's Jones Beach. Further tension is provided by readers' knowledge that one of the main characters has died in the car crash. These elements don't pack the punch they might, perhaps because important secondary characters like Jude's parents are not given enough dimension. The poetic prose often betrays an adult sensibility, though there are many beautiful passages, such as one that conveys Jude's wonder over how Becka, the cashier, makes him feel. "Kiss me again and again until all the stars crowd the sky like scattered salt on black rock." Readers will hope Jude has many more such moments. Ages 12 up.