Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 10 to 14
- Grade: 5 to 9
- Reading age: 10 to 14
Thirteen-year-old Charley Callaghan is coping with some difficult changes. His family has recently moved to Vancouver from Ireland, and his mother has died of cancer. Now he is desperately trying to fit in - in a new school, a new city, a new country - while holding a part-time job and keeping an eye on his little sister, Annie. Charley’s red hair and Irish accent at first make him a target of the class bullies, but he is tough enough - just - to keep them at bay.
So it is almost a relief to him when the bullies find a new target, Benny Mason. Charley keeps hoping that Benny will defend himself, but he fails to intervene when the bullying worsens. When Benny commits suicide, Charley is overcome with remorse and guilt. He visits Benny’s single mom, Joanna, but instead of confessing, finds himself trying to make amends by doing chores, running errands and befriending Benny’s little brother. Can Charley find atonement for failing to act? James Heneghan’s trademark narrative drive, vivid characters and strong social message make this a striking study of loss and renewal.
About the author
A former fingerprint specialist with the Vancouver Police Department, James Heneghan has won numerous awards for his books for young readers, including the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Award three times for Flood, Wish Me Luck and The Grave. James lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia.www.jamesheneghan.com
School visits, author readings, adults & children, by arrangement.
- Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2008
- Long-listed, ALA Best Books for Young Adults
- Commended, OLA Best Bets - Reading for Young Adults (Fiction)
- Commended, Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens
PaybackCharley has moved from Ireland to Vancouver, and his mother has died of cancer. When a peer, Benny, commits suicide because of bullying that Charley has silently witnessed, Charley tries to find atonement for failing to act.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.