Amistad Press, Hardcover, 9780061214776, 186pp.
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
The itch starts when things get too heavy for Lil J. Skin popping or stealing pain pills from his mom help him relax. But Lil J's focus is wandering because money is short, and his man Rico knows a way to make some quick cash. It's supposed to be an easy deal, but it isn't so simple when the buyer is an undercover cop.
With a gunshot wound to the arm, Rico in jail, and a police officer clinging to life, Lil J is starting to get dope sick. He'd do anything to change the last twenty-four hours, and when he stumbles into an abandoned crack house, it actually might be possible. . . .
Walter Dean Myers weaves elements of magical realism into a harrowing story about drug use, violence, alternate perceptions of reality, and second chances.
“Drugs, drive-by shootings, gang warfare, wasted lives—Myers has written about all these subjects with nuanced understanding and a hard-won, qualified sense of hope.”
-New York Times
“Rich, nuanced…the use of magical realism brings depth and an intriguing strangeness to [Myers’] sharp-eyed observations of Harlem street life.”
-School Library Journal (starred review)
“A didn’t-see-that-coming ending wraps up the story on a note of well-earned hope and will leave readers with plenty to think about.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Characters have vivid page presence.”
“Readers might be moved to consider what they’d do in their own lives if they could start with a clean slate.”
-Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Myers’ narrative strategy is so inherently dramatic that it captures his readers’ attentions and imaginations, inviting not only empathy but also thoughtful discussion.”