Joe hasn’t seen his brother for ten years, and it’s for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.
But now Ed’s execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think …
From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?
Published on: 7 September 2017
I have strong views on the death penalty. I personally don’t believe in its value. I firmly believe that the state should not play God and decide that someone should be sentenced to die for their crimes.
I believe in jailing a person and giving them the chance to learn and reflect and become a better person. To me, the death penalty serves no purpose except to torment the families of criminals. Realistically, how does death punish a person? It’s over for them very quickly. But it’s their families who have to suffer with the grief.
Reading this book unsettled me quite a bit. It made me think a lot about what we value as a society and how we treat people who have committed crimes and even people who have not.
So let’s break this book down.
It was written in verse
In typical Sarah Crossan style, this book was written entirely in verse. I completely adored it. I’ve always loved Crossan’s books because of her simple way of telling a story in such a powerful and poetic way.
You really don’t need a lot of words to make a person feel something.
It was heartbreaking
The book follows the Joe and his family as they deal with the fact that their brother is heading straight for the gallows. He has been in jail for a long time and every single appeal has failed them.
As you can probably imagine, that is extremely difficult to bear witness to. It’s like watching a car crash happen in slow motion. You know what’s going to happen but you’re powerless to stop it.
I hated it but I also loved it. It was a beautiful sort of torment.
The characters were well-developed
What was interesting about this book was the fact that even though it was very short, we still got to see the characters in a very three dimensional way. I felt like I could really see Joe for who he was. does through this moral dilemma. We see him struggle against his heart and his head and it’s a gorgeous kind of struggle. The type that most people will understand but will not be able to relate to.
It was short but impactful
There’s not much to say about this book because the fact was that it was very short and it was also just very good in a way that is almost incontestable. At least to me. You guys know that when a book makes me cry, it has also basically stolen my heart.
It was certainly one of those very necessary books in the YA department. I enjoyed seeing such a highly debated topic in a book like this and I think Crossan looked at it in a very brave angle.
*An advanced copy of this book was very kindly provided to me to read and review by Pansing. However, all opinions are my own*