Kelly Loy Gilbert
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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.
Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.
maybe, or maybe telling himself to not yell at me. “It means what, then? You keep letting people get away with whatever the hell they want because they know you won’t do anything about it?” “No. It means you believe God gives us more chances.” Trey snorts. “That’s what you actually believe?” “That’s what the Bible says.” “That’s not what I asked you.” “I—yes.” Don’t I? But then I know people tell themselves all kinds of things about God because they don’t know him or they’re afraid of who he
“Seriously, though, how’ve you been holding up?” “You excited to sing tonight?” “Are you changing the subject?” “Yes.” She spends a few seconds deciding whether or not she’ll let me get away with it, I think, seconds I spend wondering what exactly a purity ring means you can’t do. “No,” she says finally. “I’m nervous. I regret saying yes.” “Really? Why?” “I hate singing in front of people.” I laugh, and then realize she isn’t joking. “You’re serious?” “I’ve always been that way.”
you want to?” “I do if it’s with you,” I say, and the way she smiles at me suspends the rest of the world all around me, makes me feel like I’ve borrowed another life. “My parents will want to meet you before prom, by the way,” she says when the bell rings at the end of lunch and we both get up. “Also—do you care what color your boutonniere is? I was looking at different ones online, but I thought I should see what you wanted before buying one.” “Ah, whatever you think is good is okay.” The
honest with himself, even brutally so. He’s kind.” He sees my eyebrows go up, and he laughs. “I didn’t say he was nice.” “Fair enough.” No one has to tell me Trey’s done a lot for me. “But just in general, I mean, for…everyone, even if you’re good in most ways but then you still sin—how long does God keep forgiving you?” “God doesn’t limit his forgiveness toward us.” “What about the verses that say things like if you keep sinning, then you haven’t known God or there’s no more sacrifice left
good idea for me to get up there.” Mr. Buchwald takes off his glasses and sets them on the table. He leans back in his chair so the two front legs hover above the ground. “Braden, let me tell you how I see you,” he says. “Let me tell you why I believe you’ll be a phenomenal witness. A pep talk, if you will. Think of it as a pregame huddle. You aren’t skittish and emotional like the woman who claimed your father nearly hit her, or smarmy like Tucker Walker. You’re not angry and vengeful like