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Conviction
Cover of Conviction
Conviction
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A teenage boy faces an impossible choice in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction, that was the winner of the Children's Choice Book Awards' Teen...
A teenage boy faces an impossible choice in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction, that was the winner of the Children's Choice Book Awards' Teen...
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Description-

  • A teenage boy faces an impossible choice in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction, that was the winner of the Children's Choice Book Awards' Teen Choice Debut Author Award.
    Ten years ago, Braden was given a sign—a promise that his family wouldn't fall apart the way he feared. But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden's father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son's hands; Braden is the key witness in his father's upcoming trial.
    Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four mile per hour pitch already has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden's saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.
 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Kelly Loy Gilbert believes deeply in the power of stories to illuminate a shared humanity and give voice to complex, broken people. She is the author of Conviction, a William C. Morris Award finalist, and lives in the SF Bay Area. She invites you to visit her on Twitter @KellyLoyGilbert or at KellyLoyGilbert.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 6, 2015
    Braden Raynor’s father has instilled three values in his 16-year-old son: undying family loyalty, faith in God, and a dream of becoming a professional athlete. All three are tested when Braden’s father is accused of killing a police officer in a hit-and-run accident. Braden’s estranged brother, Trey, returns to take custody of Braden, while Braden grapples with his own testimony, which will help determine if his father goes free or faces the death penalty. Using baseball as a metaphor for Braden’s life, debut author Gilbert intersperses Braden’s stints on the pitching mound with the ongoing trial, his attempts at living with some semblance of normalcy, and flashbacks that form a scathing portrait of his father. Gilbert gives Braden a blistering fastball, though the narrative is frustratingly coy, teasing out the truth in a meandering fashion that is at times more plodding than suspenseful. But the tale remains a thorough examination of all that the title implies, spanning the court drama and challenging the beliefs of each member of this dysfunctional family. Ages 14–up. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Wolf Literary Services.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 15, 2015
    When 16-year-old Braden Raynor's father is arrested for a hit-and-run accident that leaves a police officer dead, every hidden secret is dragged into the light. Braden's father is known for his aggressive stance on his evangelical radio show, but what plays well on the airwaves can be horribly destructive at home. The anger and abuse that drove Braden's older brother, Trey, away have driven Braden to be the perfect son. But in spite of his stellar talent on the pitcher's mound, his exemplary performance in school, and his strong faith in God, Braden fears he will never be enough. When Braden is called to testify on behalf of the defense, he must decide if the truth is worth risking his entire world. While the mystery of what really happened on the foggy stretch of highway is the driving force behind the narrative, it is Braden's unfolding story that will captivate readers. His father's incarceration forces Braden to admit that the father he loves is also the monster he fears. There are no easy answers. Love is both beautiful and cruel. God is both loving and mysterious. And family is both comforting and suffocating. Both hopeful and devastatingly real. (Fiction. 14 & up)

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from May 1, 2015

    Gr 8 Up-Braden's dad is in jail, awaiting trial for allegedly killing a police officer, supposedly backing up, swerving, and running the officer down during a routine traffic stop. Braden dreads having to testify. His father is a well-known religious radio host, and Braden's own faith is wavering as he wrestles with the realities of the relationship he has with his father. He wants to believe that his father is a good man, but the facts in the case seem to point in another direction. Flickers of his dad's drinking, violence, and judgmental tendencies make Braden increasingly apprehensive about providing his version of the events of the night the officer was killed. He also has lingering doubts about why his older brother would leave home, not returning for more than a decade. When he arrives back to care for Braden during their dad's incarceration, Braden eventually learns the truth: his dad disapproved of the brother's secrets and beat him mercilessly. The story flashes forward and back in time, interweaving baseball vignettes as metaphors for strained relationships. The sophisticated pacing requires effort to push through; this is a multilayered story that provides meaty sustenance for those seeking insights into rifts between fathers and sons. Readers who do push through will find a poignant look at the messiness of love, faith, and humanity. VERDICT A strong debut for readers who enjoyed E.M. Kokie's Personal Effects (Candlewick, 2012).-Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from May 15, 2015
    Grades 8-11 *Starred Review* High-school pitching star Braden Raynor watches helplessly as cops surround his father, Mart, who hosts an Evangelical radio show, and arrest him for the murder of a police officer. Terrified and guilt-ridden, Braden fears that he is at fault for his father's actions and that Mart acted out of love for him. Initially relieved to hear that his estranged older brother, Trey, will be coming back to act as his guardian, Braden is grieved to discover that Trey still openly despises Mart. Worse, Trey has abandoned his faith, which, along with baseball, is an essential part of Braden's bond with his father. Suspense builds as flashbacks reveal that Mart has constructed an emotionally possessive and manipulative relationship with Braden, leaving Braden to equate loyalty to his father with loyalty to God. Braden is a deeply sympathetic character, slowly coming to realize that he has been systematically broken by the only person he trusts. Gilbert respectfully and sensitively handles themes of faith, religion, and familynot to mention the importance of baseballto illustrate how tightly small towns cling, often destructively, to their own. Fans of Carl Dueker's multilayered sports novels, Harlan Coben's psychological thrillers, or Bryan Bliss' No Parking at the End Times (2014) will all be captivated by Gilbert's moving debut.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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