The story begins as 17-year-old Kidd gradually becomes aware that he is probably in solitary confinement for the murder of his friend Devon. In complete darkness, he finds he cannot move his body and is in great pain, presumably from a beating the cops applied to him before throwing him in the squad car. Kidd has had a tumultuous life up to now. His father succumbed to the drugs he was addicted to, but not before beating Kidd's mother into a coma from which she never revived.
Now Kidd has left Horizons, an institution for rehabilitating children, and has taken up summer work at a beach camp with Mr. Red. The work isn't glamorous, but with Mr. Red's guidance and friendship, Kidd might just shape a better life for himself. The only obstacle is Devon, whom he befriended at Horizons against the advice of his therapist, and who harbors a deep distrust, even hatred of those he sees as wealthier and more privileged than he. So just as Kidd is developing a friendly relationship with Olivia, one of those "privileged" girls who spends the summer at the camp, Devon threatens to bring harm to her, to pull Kidd away from all that’s right in his life, and to reinforce Kidd’s own feelings of inadequacy.
Olivia, who wears a ski cap all summer to cover a port-wine stain birthmark on the side of her face, has baggage of her own, but sees Kidd as a guy she can open up to. She gives Kidd the courage to try surfing, to have a conversation with her, to have, in fact, a real relationship with her. Unfortunately, Devon’s influence over Kidd grows daily, encouraging him by example to shoplift, frighten beach goers, and engage in generally unsavory activities.
To Kidd's credit, he is aware of Devon's power over him and avoids him by confining himself in his tent for days. The only thing that gets him back outside is his fear that Devon will harm Olivia, which could ultimately end badly for both Kidd and Devon. The conclusion is one that will rock the reader!
Recommended by Jane Behrens, Librarian.