Deposing Nathan

400p. Page Street. May 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781624147357.
Gr 8 Up—Sixteen-year-old Nate has always been a golden child, raised by his father and aunt in a strict and religious household. When he meets Cam, who encourages him to question rules and dare to be independent, Nate's sheltered life begins to feel stifling, and he starts pushing back in little ways. As the relationship between them becomes more complicated, both boys reach a breaking point—ending in a brutal fight and attempted murder charges. The narrative unfolds in two separate time lines. In the first, Nate has had time to recover from being stabbed, and as he spends several days giving the deposition that could send Cam to jail, a nuanced story emerges. A number of twists and turns reveal the tenuous relationships between the boys and between Nate and his family, as well as Nate's struggle to accept his own identity. Themes that may appeal to teen readers include small acts of rebellion in the face of strict parents and faith traditions, questioning one's sexual identity, and thoughtful treatment of a love triangle not often seen in YA fiction. At its heart a story about complex relationships, the structure adds layers of suspense that will have readers constantly reevaluating events.
VERDICT Recommend to fans of complicated relationships and suspense, and for students eager to read outside the mainstream.

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