The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker by Kat Spears
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Luke Grayson's life turns upside when he's sent to Ashland, Tennessee his senior year of high school to live with his father and stepmother. Luke's mother no longer wants to deal with his trouble-making ways and thinks his father, a Baptist preacher who has never played a role in Luke's life, can help straighten him out. But Luke's reputation comes with him to Ashland, where he stands out as the new kid from the big city. He's too progressive for this rural Tennessee town and rapidly becomes the target of the high school's golden boy, Grant Parker, who singles Luke out and makes his life miserable. But things change quickly after a confrontation between Luke and Grant goes awry and suddenly, overnight, life in Ashland changes dramatically for Luke.
I wanted to like this book, but I just never connected with it, or Luke. Having grown up and lived in small towns, I understand how truly small and exclusive they can be. But this novel just fell flat for me. I was immediately bothered by the fact that Luke's mother shipped him off for his senior year to his extremely rigid (and awful) father, despite the fact that the his greatest transgressions seemed to be a couple of silly (and harmless) pranks at his old school. I never felt any sort of connection to Luke as a character, and truly, at points, I found reading his story a little painful and thought "blah blah blah" at huge sections of text. He's a passive character, without a lot of depth to him. In fact, the only character with any true depth to her was Luke's friend, Delilah and her storyline is the only one that seems to have any heft. But she often gets lost in the shuffle.
Overall this one was just too much eye-rolling (on my part) and a little "too YA" for me. While it should be a nuanced commentary on the perils of high school and small town living, I just wanted it be over.
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