Clarissa, Rosa, Simon, Tommy and Beth live at St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles. We know a little bit about each - just enough to know that while their lives before St. Jude’s weren’t all that wonderful, life at St. Jude’s is worse. It’s hell. The Pastor and His Wife who run the home are monsters - abusive and sadistic - and the only freedom the five have is when they’re at high school. Tommy tries to keep the group safe and bears the resulting scars, but each day is a terrible struggle. Somehow, despite the misery of their lives, Tommy and Beth (the newest addition), discover happiness in each other. They steal away at lunchtime to be together in the Art Room, where they kiss and smile and love each other. Until they’re caught. That night, when Beth is singled out for punishment, Tommy snaps. Before the night is over, Tommy, Simon and Carissa find themselves accused of murder, Beth is taken away in an ambulance and Rosa is on the run. When a stranger, Blake, shows up and offers them freedom in exchange for a debt to be paid at a later date, they take it - knowing one day, somehow, the debt will be called in.
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Grade: A-Check Review