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Andrew's Review of IN THE SCRAPE by James Newman and Mark Steensland

Most kids dream about a new bike, a pair of top-dollar sneakers endorsed by their favorite athlete, or that totally awesome video game everyone’s raving about. But thirteen-year-old Jake and his little brother Matthew want nothing more than to escape from their abusive father. As soon as possible, they plan to run away to California, where they will reunite with their mother and live happily ever after. It won’t be easy, though. After a scuffle with a local bully puts Jake’s arch-nemesis in the hospital, Sheriff Theresa McLelland starts poking her nose into their feud. During a trip to the family cabin for the opening weekend of deer-hunting season, Jake and Matthew kick their plan into action, leaving Dad tied to a chair as they flee into the night. Meanwhile, the bully and his father have their own plans for revenge, and the events to follow will forever change the lives of everyone involved . . .

To be honest, I don't know why I chose to read this book. I don't typically read novellas, not that I don't like them I'm just not drawn to them. Normally a cover catches my eye or I know of the story from another review. The book's cover was not that appealing to me but I have seen it floating around my social feed so maybe that's why. Well, I am so glad I did because it is an incredible read.

I chamber a round. The CLACK! of the bolt is deafening. I expect the buck to take off into the woods, but he doesn’t. The creature snorts, his breath pluming like smoke into the November air, and he holds his position defiantly. 
“Take the shot,” Dad whispers in my ear again. 
I spin around and point the gun at him. “Jesus Christ, Jake, what are y–”

In The Scrape is suspenseful and heart-pounding. I just couldn't stop reading. The character development had me continuously flip-flop between father and son, who is right and who is wrong. It made the story more relatable and disguised the plot so you never knew what was coming until part two (about three-quarters of the way through). I also really liked the careful and deliberate storytelling. There was nothing in this story that didn't belong, nothing that didn't keep the momentum going. The book was just so good but the ending hits you like a brick wall and just like that it's over. This book was a great read. 

Damn thing would probably blow up in your face if you tried, my father’s voice taunted me in my head, like everything else that’s pretty on the outside….

The characters are very well written. I teeter-tottered between father and son, antagonist and protagonist constantly. Obviously a dad myself, I could definitely see the father's side of things throughout the story. I'm not saying I condone the ruthless alcohol-driven lickins' with a switch. What I mean is, we as parents do a lot of stuff a child might perceive as unfair when really it's the lengths we take to shape them as human beings. So often I found myself thinking the narrator was being a brat. Then the father would get out the ol'leather strap and I would be back with the boys pleading for them to escape. It was truly a rollercoaster of emotions as the characters developed until part two when the shit hits the fan.This book went zero to a hundred REAL FAST. The narrative held a fast pace full of suspense that kept me flipping the pages and then part two hit me with this:

This is the point in my story where there are parts that I can’t promise are a hundred percent accurate. A lot of it occurred somewhere else, while my brother and I were putting our plan into motion. I’m filling in the gaps the best I can, based on what I heard from the police and saw on the news afterward. Some of what was said between certain parties might have been slightly different from the way it really happened……so if I flub a few of the minor details, forgive me. Most of the folks who would argue with me died that day, out there in the woods, so you won’t hear them complain.

Boom! The story explodes from here on out and it's as if your reading a whole new book. I absolutely recommend this book especially for any other book dads out there. It will really make you think about parenthood and the inner workings of a child's mind. I definitely related to the book on a certain level that most parents will understand. If you are looking for a quick read that will keep you reeling until the end, then this is an excellent book for you. 

If you liked this review make sure to share it with your friends. Thanks for reading! 

This is a quick intro to myself, my life, and why I write. I'm a husband and father who loves to read all things dark, thrilling, mysterious, and suspenseful. I didn't always enjoy reading but have been nothing short of obsessed over the last five or so years. The obsession has lead to writing and so here I am fighting for time to read and write while trying to work a full-time job and satisfy my family's needs (#1 priority).


I write to encourage others to read and take part in open discussions about life from great books to parenting and adulting. I want to provide a space for like-minded individuals to read, and share their thoughts. Maybe we can help each other to find ways to read a little more with the limited time we have in the day.

-Andrew @bookdad

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