Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book Review: Bullet Point by Peter Abrahams


Wyatt never really thought much about his dad—a hardened criminal, a lifer in a prison somewhere on the other side of the state. But then the economy had to go and tank, and the community had to go and cut the baseball program from Wyatt's high school. And then the coach had to go and show Wyatt a photograph of his dad at sixteen, looking very much like Wyatt himself. Through a series of unfortunate—or perhaps they were fortunate—events, Wyatt meets a crazy-hot girl named Greer with a criminal dad of her own. A criminal dad who is, in fact, in jail with Wyatt's own criminal dad. Greer arranges a meeting, and Wyatt's dad is nothing like the guy he's imagined—he's suave, and smart, and funny, and cool, and—Wyatt's pretty sure—innocent. So Wyatt decides to help him out. A decision that may possibly be the worst he's ever made in his life.


A murder mystery set years after the suspect begins serving a life sentence, Bullet Point thrusts forth many questions and theories, engaging the reader early on. Wyatt has never known his biological father. In fact, until things start being churned up, Wyatt has rarely asked questions and doesn't even know which prison houses his lifer dad. Watching Wyatt face a series of unexpected and difficult situations, this book is a study in character development as much as it is a thrill ride. This is definitely a page turner, amping up the suspense.

Wyatt starts out as a strong main character, a mostly average teenage boy living in a town that's going nowhere. His main shining hope is baseball, particularly since his grades are nothing stunning. As the plot progresses, however, Wyatt's innate cleverness and reasoning skills become both evident and honed. He learns plenty of new things about himself and grows exponentially in both his maturity, his interactions with people and in the way he views the world around him. There is a very obvious shift in his overall frame of mine, pushing him from a high school kid to someone who has seen things others go through their entire lives without ever facing. The effect it has on him is striking and brought forth, leading to a very memorable ending.

Greer is snarky and independent, adding spark to both Wyatt's world and the plot itself. She is difficult to explain without giving too much away of the plot but she plays a central role in both Wyatt's personal development and that of the plot. She is a very memorable character even if moody, rapidly shifting in her reactions and emotions. With each new turn, Greer will spark conflicting and uncertain emotions in the reader, raising many questions and tugging them on the same inexplicable and tumultuous ride she takes Wyatt on. Three years older than Wyatt and out of high school, living on her own, Greer pulls Wyatt into a relationship that will leave the reader questioning its health and effect on him. At two separate points in their lives- and with two different pasts- they tear at each other and combat as much as they come together and care.

Though this book is written in third person, it stays central to Wyatt and the reader learns things as Wyatt does. The writing itself is unique; Abrahams has created a voice that I associated strongly with Wyatt despite the lack of immediate insight. If Wyatt were to write, this style is how I imagine it and that facet alone speaks a tremendous amount about Abraham's writing ability. I highly doubt another novel at the hand of this writer will follow this same dialect and trend.

Throughout, clues are given and leads are opened regarding the truth behind Sonny's possible innocence, engaging the reader further. I would develop a theory only to have more holes and questions be put in which also brings up another, more subtle aspect of this book- the idea behind "reasonable doubt." Abrahams has masterfully weaved a story which leaves the reader questioning in multiple ways if Sonny really should have been in prison or if he truly is one of the innocent men condemned to a life in prison. It isn't until the end of the book the reader can come to any decision on this yet Abrahams pitches it in a brilliant way that will still leave confusion and mixed emotions.

Once things with Sonny become involved in the story, the pace speeds up and things move quickly. From teenage detective work to visits during allotted hours with Sonny himself, Wyatt wades through an entirely foreign world to him while trying to learn what he can, figure out his conflicted feelings on multiple things, and get to know the man who helped bring him into this world whom he has never known. Overall, Abrahams doesn't mess around with his writing. Things are straight to the point with little filler. Once a decision is made, within a paragraph or two things are dealing right with that- no in between, wasting time with this book which helped add to the overall effect of who Wyatt was and how his mind worked.

Overall, this is a fantastic take on the murder mystery style as the same burning curiosity that would be present whether this was written right after the actual crime or years later is ignited. With strong characters, fluent and stylistic writing, and numerous shocking twists, Abrahams has certainly created a hit with this one. All these events lead up to a very shocking ending that leaves the reader thinking not only about the outcome but the underlying implications and potentially even some transference into their own lives.

Source: ARC Received for review from author/publisher
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (April 27, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061227692
ISBN-13: 978-0061227691

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  1. Great review, I'm definitely going to check this book out!

  2. Sounds like everything I'm looking for. I've had this book on my wishlist for a short time now and this is the first review I've read on it. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it and I'm really looking forward to reading it in the future. Thanks for the review. :D


  3. Great review! I wasn't too sure about this one but it sounds quite interesting...hmmm...