(Groundwood Books, Aug. 28, 2008)
Thirteen-year-old Charley Callaghan is coping with some difficult changes in his life. His family has recently moved to Vancouver from Ireland, and his mother has died of cancer. Now he is desperately trying to fit in in a new school, a new city, a new country while holding a part-time job and keeping an eye on his little sister, Annie. Charley’s red hair and Irish accent at first make him a target of the class bullies, but he is just tough enough to keep them at bay. It's almost a relief to him when the bullies find a new target, Benny Mason. Charley keeps hoping, in vain, that Benny will defend himself, but he fails to intervene. When Benny commits suicide, Charley is overcome with remorse and guilt. He visits Benny’s single mother, Joanna, but instead of confessing, finds himself trying to make amends by doing chores, running errands, and befriending Benny’s little brother. Can Charley find atonement for his failure to help Benny? James Heneghan's trademark narrative drive, vivid characters, and strong social message make this a masterful study of loss and renewal.