Over the Line (Paperback)
Syracuse University Press, 9780815610229, 185pp.
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Fifteen-year-old Justin Lyle does not see in himself the qualities he admires in heroes like his paternal grandfather, awarded a medal of honor during World War II, or in the fictional heroes of television and comic books. Growing up in the declining manufacturing town of East Liberty, New York--beset by unemployment, rising crime, and an influx of drugs, and encircled by struggling dairy farms--Justin feels isolated and decidedly unheroic. These feelings are intensified by his parents' divorce, his longing for an unattainable girl, and the death, eight years previous but still a potent memory, of his infant brother. When Justin steps "over the line" one afternoon, attempting to help the drug-addled girlfriend of an unstable bully, he triggers a series of increasingly perilous encounters. By week's end, Justin has been drawn into his community's sinister underworld and compelled to unexpected action and a fresh understanding of the complexities of heroism.The author of Boys: Stories and a Novella, Lloyd again illustrates his pitch-perfect ear for capturing the detached vernacular and emotional angst of adolescence. Lloyd brings to life the trials of a small, Upstate New York town, creating a story that is as real as it is fictional.