Us Kids Know (Hardcover)
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"A gripping, tragic debut novel that will fascinate and trouble sophisticated teen readers." --Kirkus Reviews We all knew about Cullen Hickson. Siblings Bri and Ray O'Dell are lost. Anxious. Restless. Ray--bullied at his Catholic school for being small and timid--wants to be someone people respect or, even better, someone people fear. Meanwhile, Bri knows that something is off about her friendship with the shiny, happy, sophisticated blond girls on her field hockey team. They don't really understand Bri, and if Bri is being totally honest, she doesn't really understand them either. When storied delinquent Cullen Hickson enters the orbit of the O'Dell siblings, though, everything changes. Bri and Ray find an alluring, addictive outlet in Cullen, who opens their eyes to a world they didn't know existed. For Ray, that means experiencing the singular thrill of crime--from breaking and entering to grand theft auto--while Bri quickly dives into an all-consuming romance with the enigmatic upperclassman. As Bri and Ray become more and more entwined with Cullen's antics, and their once-thrilling experiences grow increasingly dangerous, a series of life-changing events threatens to lead the teens down a dark path--one that could forever alter the course of their lives.
About the Author
JJ Strong received a creative writing degree from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. in English from Georgetown University. His writing has appeared in Fifth Wednesday, the Santa Monica Review, and LA Weekly. He taught for many years in the undergraduate writing program at USC, before moving to the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and son.