16-year-old Chap is alone in the world. He has no family, friends, home, identity, past or future, and has nowhere to go. In fact, he's running from social services who want to lock him up in an institution. The only person he's ever loved, his reclusive grandfather, has just confessed to covering up Chap's entire existence with, if not lies, then omissions of the facts. Now Chap is completely alone with nothing to lose.
When workers at the shelter show him a photo of a missing teen named Cassiel Roadnight, Chap is shocked to find that he and Cassiel look almost exactly the same. Take away the scars and piercings, and subtract a couple of years, and Chap could easily pass for the missing teen. With the shelter workers insisting that he is indeed Cassiel, Chap considers the opportunity. Here is a desperate family searching for one of their own, and Chap is available and qualified, at least as far as appearances go, to fill the slot. So Chap takes the chance.
Immediately, Chap finds himself with a home, mom, sister and brother. They are all immensely glad to see him and welcome him with open arms. Now all Chap has to do is figure out how to ride through this guy's life and not get caught. And someone hasn't made it very easy. Cassiel's room is wiped clean of any hints or suggestions of how to act, what his interests are, or who his friends are. His new sister already has commented on how much nicer he's become in the two years he's been missing. Then, a few clues begin to surface that indicate this normal, happy family isn't quite as it seems. Something sinister is lurking. Chap thought he had nothing to lose, but he's wrong --- he may just lose his life!
Jenny Valentine is the award-winning author of this new intoxicating thriller. Written in the first-person point of view, readers have the opportunity to become deeply involved with the sensitive and hurting main character of Chap. We can't help but feel sympathy with his deep longing for a family of his own, for someone to love him. The story offers lots of internal struggles like loneliness, remorse, longing, anger, fear, and the search for an identity. Valentine slowly reveals bits and pieces of both Chap and Cassiel's lives, piquing our curiosity before delving into a full-blown mysterious thriller with some surprising twists and turns. The cover design is also intriguing --- simple, yet enigmatic and eye catching. And I would like to include a warning of a bit of foul language for those who are concerned with such things.
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman