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Morgenroth, Kate.
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c2004.
ISBN 0689864795

(4 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1
The police arrived, then the paramedics, then the police photographer, and after that Jude lost track.  There were so many officers and technicians and medical personnel that they spilled out of the small kitchen and into the hallway beyond.  They knew what to do with the body lying on the kitchen floor.   They knew how to secure the area to preserve evidence.  They knew the procedure cold.  But no one knew exactly how to handle Jude.  (Georgia Peach Book Awards, 2006-2007)

Booktalk #2

At fifteen, Jude knows a lot of things most adults never learn. He can cut and pack a bag of heroin. He knows how to take a punch without showing that it hurts. And he knows what feels like to watch a murder—and keep it a secret.  When Jude’s father is brutally gunned down at the kitchen table, Jude is a witness. But to save his own life, he can’t tell the police what he knows. He’s trapped and under suspicion himself when another secret is revealed—a secret that changes his life.
In the space of weeks, Jude goes from one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country —a place where even the police are afraid to venture at night—to one of the most privileged: West Hartford, home to mansions and millionaires.  Suddenly Jude’s living in one of those mansions and is enrolled in an exclusive private school.  But underneath the wealth and privilege, there are still more secrets that will require Jude to sacrifice more than he ever dreamed.  (Georgia Peach Book Awards, 2006-2007, Written by and permission from the author)

Booktalk #3

After witnessing the murder of his drug-dealing father, Jude discovers that he was kidnapped when he was three weeks old. Suddenly his life shifts from one of squalor and poverty to wealth and privilege when he goes to live with the mother he never knew, a district attorney in his hometown. As the “new kid” in his private school, he connects with an unsavory group of students, who see him as a street-smart connection to the drugs they seek. When one of Jude’s “friends” overdoses and dies, his mother’s boyfriend, a deputy police commissioner, convinces Jude to confess to involvement in the death, in order to help his mother win a “tough-on-crime” mayoral run. Jude finds himself in prison, and soon learns the adults he has trusted have betrayed him. Can Jude survive the brutality of prison? Can he move past the deceptions of the past to create a future for himself? (Prepared by: Leah Roche for SCASL Young Adult Awards, 2008)

Booktalk #4

This page-turning mystery follows Jude from age 15 to 23.  He thinks his mother abandoned him when he was a baby and has grown up living with his abusive, drug-dealing father.  Jude is caught in a world of violence, drugs, and betrayal. When his father is murdered, Jude is the prime suspect, but to save his own life he can’t tell the police what he really knows.  The authorities discover where Jude’s mother is and he’s sent to live with her.  She’s a wealthy lawyer and Jude’s life changes overnight.  Instead of living in the projects, he lives in a beautiful home and goes to an exclusive prep school. Such drastic changes are difficult and Jude doesn’t quite fit in. When a classmate overdoses on heroin, Jude is implicated. The story moves along at a quick pace as Jude confronts the worst and best in himself. The story reveals surprising secrets about people Jude thinks he can trust. (Caution: some obscenities and brutality)  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2007-2008)

SUBJECTS:     Mothers and sons -- Fiction.
                        Prisons -- Fiction.
                        Politics, Practical -- Fiction.

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