(disclaimer: Matthew Quick and I are good friends. But that's not why I love this book.)
Put simply, this is an intense, gripping portrayal of a teenage boy who decides to kill his former best friend. Fans of Quick's previous work will sense, immediately, that this is something of a tonal shift, though all of Quick's narrators find themselves in emotionally challenging, often dark, places. In this case, though, we're introduced to Leonard Peacock -- a boy who's in a darker place than we've ever seen in prior books by the author. Amber, of SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR, certainly has her depression midway through her novel. But Leonard is an all encompassing, authentically sad and angry character.
He has reason to be.
I can't review the bulk of this book without spoiling plot elements. If the setup doesn't grip you, then know that the other hallmark's of Quick's work -- a unique, engaging voice; earned emotional moments; visual descriptions that linger long after the story's done -- are present. This is not a departure, a change, a reinvention of Quick's path as an author. This is the best exploration of a teenager's angry despair that you may ever read.