Fifteen-year-old Kyle Chase knows the score. Just like you, he can almost recite his parentsâ€™ and teachersâ€™ lectures as theyâ€™re saying them, because heâ€™s heard them so many times before. â€œIs that all youâ€™re going to do all day, sit in front of that computer?â€ â€œWhy donâ€™t you wear some clothes that fit for a change?â€ â€œStop mumbling and speak up.â€ â€œBecause I said so.â€ Itâ€™s funny how it never changes. Funny in a sad way. Kyle canâ€™t find much to laugh about these days. His friends are idiots obsessed with partying, his teachers are robots, his parents donâ€™t listen and the girl heâ€™s secretly in love with doesnâ€™t take him seriously. And heâ€™s starting to suspect that itâ€™s mostly his fault that his life is like this, his fault for letting important decisions slide by until the choices were made for him. Now thereâ€™s no going back. Kyleâ€™s just floating through his daysâ€”until he meets Zack McDade. Zach is off-the-hook weird, with his strange airs, million dollar vocab and bright colored sports coats.Â Kyle doesnâ€™t like Zach, but his particular brand of smooth sarcasm and utter confidence does make school a little more interesting, a little more alive. Until he turns his massive powers of manipulation on Kyle. What happens next may be inevitable given what has come before, but Benoit’s explosive ending is not one that YOU will forget anytime soon.
Whatâ€™s so fantastic about this book isnâ€™t the topic, which will be sadly familiar to many of you. Itâ€™s the way Benoit, a former high school English teacher and adult mystery author, tells Kyleâ€™s story, from back to front (like Gail Gileâ€™s amazing Shattering Glass) and in a rarely used second person voice that draws you uncomfortably close to Kyleâ€™s troubled psyche. You may want to pull away from Kyle, or deny whatâ€™s happening to him. But you wonâ€™t be able to. Because Kyleâ€™s not that different from you. Or one of your friends. Or that quiet guy who sits slumped in the back of your Algebra class. Though this book reminds me of several other outstanding titles, Benoit has also crafted something here that is so original and raw that I couldn’t put down until I finished the entire thing. The bad news: YOU isnâ€™t coming to a library or bookstore near you until September 2010. The good news: YOU have a really amazing read to look forward to this fall.