Danny has survived everything life has thrown at him: being abandoned at birth, multiple abusive foster homes, life as a con man in training. But when his latest "protector" dies suddenly, Danny has to think fast or he'll be back in foster care again. He decides to assume the identity of a boy who disappeared three years before. If nothing else, he figures it will buy him a little time. Much to his astonishment, his new "family" accepts him as their own, despite the fact that he looks nothing like their missing relative. But one old cop has his suspicions about Danny, and he's not about to declare the case closed. Inspired by a true story, Who I'm Not is a powerful portrait of a boy whose identity is as fluid as a river and as changeable as a chameleon's skin.
Loosely based on a true story, Staunton s novel follows a nameless teenager whose tumultuous life has left him with no concept of his own identity. After the petty criminal he s been running with is killed, the boy tries to avoid being thrown back into the foster care system by scanning a list of missing teenage boys and claiming to be one of them, Danny Dellomondo. Danny s family is so overjoyed to learn that he is alive that they overlook certain inconsistencies Danny s eye color has changed, for example (he claims that when he was kidnapped, his captors injected my eyes with something ). Staunton (Jump Cut) manages a potentially farfetched premise with authority and persuasive detail: the fake Danny easily assumes the role of the missing teen by looking at family photos, relying on his skills of manipulation, and drawing from actual past trauma to deflect uncomfortable questions. While the ending is dramatic, the psychological tension at the root of Danny s masquerade and the relationships he forms with those who are so willingly deceived are gripping throughout. Ages 12 up.