Eloquent and compassionate. ... Danny's honest first-person narrative and his conversations with other characters make clear what it takes for him to remain sober. [L]yrical details elegantly evoke Danny's inner consciousness as well as a slice of rural life in the Northeast. ... Cheripko may well instill in readers an empathy and admiration for recovering addicts, who fight their battle one day at a time.
A compelling coming-of-age tale, uncompromising in its embrace of messy humanity.
It's the honest characters, with all their scrappy, irreverent individuality and compassion, that grab attention. ... The simple words, and the spaces between them, reveal secrets, breakdown, betrayal, and love.
Danny gives so little of himself at first and uncovers so much about others that requires respect and care.
—School Library Journal
"Superior, well above average. Haunted by his father's death nine years before, eighteen-year-old Danny meanders aimlessly around his small Pennsylvania hometown, ignoring his mother's plea for him to go back to music school. Cheripko allows Danny to tell his own story, the present-tense narration filled with pain and anger and a child's determination to seek control. A compelling coming-of-age tale, uncompromising in its embrace of messy humanity.
—Horn Book Guide
Gritty dialogue… There's an intricacy of emotion at work that is cleverly revealed as events unfold. No word is extraneous, yet the author manages to make the dialogue both realistic and revealing. Short, sweet and stunningly well written.
Cheripko creates a subtle, telling portrait of a young man running headlong into the ghosts he's been fleeing. Themes of faith and forgiveness flow through the compact novel, with Danny's exploration of the former and struggles with the latter adding nondidactic and thoughtful depth to the drama.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books