A few years ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting Ron Rash at ALA. He's a wonderfully talented Appalachian author who won an Alex Award for this book. He had a few copies of the book with him, and even signed mine! Oh, librarian celebs.
Travis Shelton is a 17-year old kid who leaves his home to live with a small time, drug-dealing teacher. His father barely notices him, except when he messes up, and he feels as though his life is going nowhere. Leonard Shuler takes him in, recognizing an intelligence not often seen in the small town in North Carolina where the book takes place. The two of them discover a bit more of themselves by living together, with an ending that proves that history doesn't always repeat itself exactly.
The story itself isn't exciting or groundbreaking, but Rash is a beautiful storyteller with a lyrical prose that will entrance you. It's great to read some Southern literature that doesn't come from Arkansas, but rather from the Appalachian mountain area, which isn't seen often in novels. I loved this book the first time I read it, and it's held up the second time around.