AGE GROUP/GENRE: Young Adult/Murder Mystery
PUBLISHED: March 27 2012
REVIEWED BY: Joanne
SOURCE: Review copy supplied by Author
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Seems like Leo Scott has it all: looks, brains, and athletic talent. He’s captain of his high school swim team with a bright future in college and beyond. But Leo has secrets. His mother’s crippling car accident has devastated his family and left Leo to deal with his father’s abuse, battered and alone.
Leo’s girlfriend Audrey Rose is poised for her own share of success. As one of Florida’s top high school swimmers, Audrey dreams of college swimming stardom. But there’s an obstacle to her glorious rise to the top. Her number-one supporter–her father–is in prison for murder.
Part murder mystery, part tale of young love in a military family, this gripping story takes readers on a journey from Pensacola to Annapolis. Leo and Audrey must band together to rise above the adversity they encounter and find their true selves in the process. When everything’s on the line . . . streamline.
I was intrigued by the blurb of this book – it was billed as a love story/thriller/murder mystery.
It centres on Leo, a senior in the Swim Team who is hiding a terrible home life, and Audrey, his girlfriend. She is also on the swim team and her father just happens to be in Military Prison having been convicted of a murder he can’t remember committing.
Leo and Audrey’s fathers are both in the Navy, and this book is immersed in the navy and swimming cultures. At times it got a little overwhelming with terminology, and as I have no background in either of those topics, a lot of it went over my head.
Leo is the shining star of the swim team, and is aiming for a scholarship to University in order to escape his abusive father, whilst his father is determined that he will go to the Naval Academy and follow in his footsteps. He pushes himself to do his best, and tries desperately to hide the bruises inflicted by his father, but his home life eventually drags him down and he’s left literally fighting for his life.
Audrey is fighting her own battles – her father is in prison for a murder she doesn’t believe he committed, and this has left her mother having to work all hours in order to keep them going. Leo is her lifeline (and she is his) but they are going to have to battle to stay together if his father gets his way.
The story is told in a third party narrative, and there are a lot of characters in this book. At times I found it overwhelming trying to keep up with who was who and what was going on.
I’m not sure of the genre it’s supposed to be – I’ve seen it billed as Young Adult; however there are lots of issues that are dealt with in this book that may not be suitable for younger teens. Issues such as child abuse (which is pretty graphic at times and really harrowing), drug abuse/addiction to pain meds, contemplating suicide, rape and of course murder.
I also found it very hard to understand how Leo’s mother was able to stand by and watch her children subjected to such terrible abuse at the hands of their father. This is not just a case of a slap here and there – the beatings are so bad that Leo is knocked unconscious. There were times when I just wanted to cry for him and what he faced.
Having said all of that, I was very intrigued. The story is woven through so many different characters, all of whom end up having some part to play in the revelations at the end. It is a very long book – around 470 pages and it took me 2 days to read it. I read on through the book to see what would happen, whether we would find out who the real killer was, if my hunch was right (it was!) and what would happen with Leo, if he would finally escape his fathers clutches.
I would recommend reading it, but with a warning that the material may not be suitable for younger teens.
I would give this 3.5 stars.