by Eleanor Henderson
Jude’s Mom makes and sells glass bongs. His dad left when he was nine. Teddy’s dad is long gone and his alcoholic Mom, Queen Bee, will soon be as well. Jude and Teddy listen to punk and spend their days in a small Vermont town getting high on various drugs and causing trouble. When a tragic death occurs, Jude is sent to live with his Dad, who sells pot in New York. There Jude discovers straight edge, a brand of hardcore punk eschewing drugs and sex. He joins a tribe of disaffected youth from similar backgrounds. Together they are angry, righteous, and compelling. They are dispossessed kids who can either fall into an abyss of drugs, crime and anonymity, or claim a life of their own making through this new subculture. They form a community of desperation out of the vacuum of disintegrated family life and out the bowels of a larger society where brotherhood no longer exists. This intensity of belonging results in acts of violence within the tribe and against it. Though straight edge saves Jude’s life, his new attitude and new community pose equally lethal dangers. There’s also a love triangle around a girl named Claire, for those of you who need a love interest. Henderson breathes life into every sentence of this novel. You can feel her spirit on every page. Great book!