Alone and blaming himself for all the things he possibly could have done differently, Moses has a huge chip on his shoulder. The sentencing comes down, and Moses is sent for community service at a children's camp that is primarily supervised by teens, a.k.a Buddies. As Moses attends the camp, he is drawn to three friends who may help open him up to new possibilities outside of his guilt, as well as a young camper who really changes everything.
What I loved: This book pulls the reader in quickly and really builds up Moses and his personality well. He feels like a very close friend whose life we are watching. Moses and the other characters felt really authentic and well crafted. He undergoes a lot of growth during the story, and this ended up being quite a healing, coming-of-age read. The book also manages to infuse some humor even amongst the darkest of stories.
What left me wanting more: There was a lot of space here for some professional help, which would have been nice to see. Of course, people are imperfect, and Moses addresses the way people deal with him, but it would also have been nice to see him getting more help. He is dealing with some big things. There are also other characters who are dealing with big issues that are hinted at but not fully explained, and I felt like some threads were not completely woven into the story by the end. I still had some questions, which was not bad, but it would have been nice to get more answers.
Final verdict: Overall, this is an engaging contemporary young adult fiction that deals with some major issues, such as loss, grief, and finding yourself. Would recommend for people who enjoy similar YA contemporary reads that deal with big issues like THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER or ULTIMATUM.