My rating: 4 of 5 stars
High and Dry is straight up YA noir. The language and tone hit the noir genre perfectly, without missing a very fun beat. If you like reading noir, you might enjoy this story that features high school seniors. If you like YA with a hard boiled, hyper-realistic bent, then this book is for you.
Author Sarah Skilton's writing is spare and muscular and dry in High and Dry. The plot is about the framing of Charlie Dixon, high school senior and soccer player (or "beckham"). Charlie's story unfolds in complex steps and the clues to figuring out what happened to him (and others in the story) are multilayered and smart. This book reminded me of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, because it also deals with the debts and responsibilities of friendship, like what Charlie feels for his best friend and possibly worst enemy, Ryder.
What I like most about Skilton's work, in both High & Dry and her first novel, Bruised, is that she never condescends to her readers. Her protagonists are given real life, gritty challenges and she don't shy away from making them work and live harder just to get through their obstacles. Both books contained broken bones. Both contain crimes. Both contain the moral and ethical questions: when you witness something wrong in your life, how do you respond - and is that response ever really right and/or just?
If you're interested in a fun, fast whodunit read, I recommend High and Dry.
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