If it’s one thing James Newman knows how to do, it’s write an engaging coming-of-age tale. MIDNIGHT RAIN and ODD MAN OUT are as required a readings as is BOY’S LIFE when it comes to COA. With IN THE SCRAPE, I think him and Steensland have reached new heights. IN THE SCRAPE is as raw, gritty, and disturbing as ODD MAN OUT, but also has the rollercoaster journey paved with danger and pitfalls like MIDNIGHT RAIN.
Brothers Jake and Matthew live with their abusive, alcoholic father after their mother left them when they were younger. Jake and Matthew long for the day when they can escape their everyday life of hell and reunite with their mother in California. They haven’t heard from her since she left. They have no idea where in California she lives. All they know is they can’t take the abuse anymore. They want a normal life in a loving household and to do that, they have to take care of their father before he takes care of them – PERMANENTLY.
Jake and Matthews plight is as real and raw as it gets. You feel so bad for what they have to live with that you actually start rooting for their plan to work. Newman and Steensland’s collaboration is seamless. You can’t tell where one writer ended and the other started. Like a well oiled machine, IN THE SCRAPE is a fast 100 pages. I wolfed it down in one sitting. I simply couldn’t put it down. If you’ve never read Newman or Steensland’s work, IN THE SCRAPE is a great place to start.
5 Rolls of Duct Tape out of 5
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