Stealing Kevin’s Heart by M. Scott Carter, Roadrunner Press, (November 13, 2012). ISBN: 9781937054069. Reviewed by John R. Clark, MLIS.
Alex and Kevin were the unlikeliest of best friends, one nerdy, artistic and Jewish, the other burly and a jock. They bonded when Kevin’s family moved into the house next to where Alex lived, sharing chicken pox, teen insecurity and jokes as they grew older. A year ago, they got motorcycles. One fateful day, Kevin talked Alex into skipping and going biking. Alex watched as a drunk driver hit Kevin’s bike and he died.
The guilt and grief of losing his best friend overwhelmed Alex, so much so that he cut himself off from the world, gave up on school and scared his family. Scared them so much, they forced him to go from his home in Stillwater to a wilderness camp for troubled teens in southwestern Oklahoma.
The last thing Alex expects to meet is someone like Rachel. She’s sweet and insightful, doesn’t seem depressed and won’t let him blow her off. The more he’s around her, the harder it is for him to stay angry and sad. When her evil ex-boyfriend, Danny, attacks her, Alex discovers them and fights Danny off. It’s a turning point in his painful journey back to life.
Readers will figure out early on what the unspoken connection between Kevin, Alex and Rachel is, but that hardly matters. Watching the two teens connect and figure out what they mean to each other is the important part. Teens who have suffered a devastating loss, like a really nice romance or who like stories with strong emotional components are going to like this one a lot.