Owen and his best friend, Sean, are both eleven years old. They’ve lived on Cape Cod all their lives, and now that they’re a little older, they’ll finally be free to spend some time on their own. But Sean’s mother has a different idea—she hires a babysitter to look after Sean. Paul is in his twenties, and a well-liked guy from church.
Paul starts doing things that just feel wrong. Because they’ve always been as close as brothers, Sean tells Owen, and no one else. What’s not certain to Owen is what he should do. Sean warns him not to tell anyone what is happening. But if Owen doesn’t tell, could something even worse happen to Sean?
This harrowing and sensitively told tale of child abuse is a must-read for anyone who might ever be called upon to help a friend in need.
This title has Common Core connections.
Fifth grade has just ended, and 11-year-old Owen is ready for go-kart racing, baseball, and trips to Cape Cod's beaches with his best friend Sean. But the summer takes a horrifying turn after Owen learns that Sean is being sexually abused by Paul, a 20-something man from church who Sean's working mother hired to babysit him, because of her son's diabetes. As the abuse escalates and video cameras get involved, Owen is desperate but afraid to help his friend; Sean has sworn him to secrecy, not wanting the abuse to become public, and has threatened to kill himself if Owen tells anyone. Abbott (the Copernicus Legacy series) nails the casually jokey relationship between Owen and Sean, the way that it is slowly poisoned by what's happening ("Every time I get dressed or undressed I think of what Sean told me"), and how trapped and powerless both boys feel. It's a difficult, important, and possibly lifesaving story of children forced into terrible situations, as well as what real loyalty and friendship look like. Wishing books like this weren't necessary doesn't make them less so. Ages 10 14.
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The only review
I know it addresses an important issue, but i read it way too young, and it chilled me to the dang bone. I can barely even look at the cover, speak the name. I know my OCD must be tripling how bad it really is, but this harrowing novel should really be advertised to a much younger audience. This comes from a diehard fan of The Hunger Games, so I know what I mean when I talk about disturbing topics.