Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Holding Smoke

Ages 14 and up
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (May 3, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1484725972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1484725979

John "Smoke" Conlan is serving time for two murders-but he wasn't the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke's new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they're asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn't care that the "threads" that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name. 

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink's help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he's willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.


My Impressions: 

This story follows John "Smoke" Conlan who is serving time that the juvenile detention center the kids refer to as the "Y" for the murder of his English teacher and another boy. Smoke though maintains his innocence and insists he did not murder his English teacher who had showed him nothing but kindness and that the murder of the boy was all an accident. The funny thing is Smoke cannot say what happened, how it was an accident or help in his defense in any way. The situation is escalated in minds of the community since Smoke was legally dead and brought back to life when his father attempted to kill him one fateful night. Since that day, John has developed the ability to travel outside his body  using astal projection when he sleeps.

Smoke manages to pass his time by doing favors for inmates and guards by gathering information that know one else can get. By having the ability to travel outside his body he is able to make his time inside easier, until he meets Pink who can see him and agrees to help Smoke clear his name. 

This was an amazing book from beginning to end. There are so many plot twists going on that it kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page. I adored the characters, strong, decisive, eager and at the same time vulnerable, scared, and dependent. What I really enjoyed was that throughout the book the decisions that are made are those of your typical teenager that has not learned to weigh the full consequences of their actions. It also did not "pretty up" what life inside juvenile detention would be like. Its hard, gruesome, and realistic. 

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About the Author: 
Elle Cosimano grew up in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, the daughter of a maximum security prison warden and an elementary school teacher who rode a Harley. As a teen, she spent summers working on a fishing boat in the Chesapeake Bay. A failed student of the hard sciences, she discovered her true calling in social and behavioral studies while majoring in psychology at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Fifteen years later, Elle set aside a successful real-estate career to pursue writing. Her debut novel, Nearly Gone, was an Edgar Award Finalist, winner of the International Thriller Writers' Best Young Adult Novel Award, and winner of the inaugural Mathical Book Award recognizing mathematics in children's literature. Elle lives with her husband and two sons in Mexico, somewhere between the jungle and the sea. Website: www.ellecosimano.com. Twitter:@ellecosimano.

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