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I was engaged with Gail Godwin's story from the start (I presume this excerpt was the opening). We learn immediately there has been disruption to Marcus's life, and by the second paragraph, she adroitly introduces the background to this upheaval. She is able to get under the skin of the reader; revealing the inner, and sensitive emotions of a teenager so well. I felt the love he held for his mother, despite their frugal home circumstances. But when he comes to understand just how his peers view him and his mother's situation, his vulnerability is stripped to the core. His retaliation is immediate and shocking. It is every author's wish to have readers wanting to know more; Gail Godwin certainly knows how to achieve this.