Steve Harmon, a 16-year old African-American teenager, is put on trial for the murder of a shopkeeper during a robbery. The book revolves around Steve’s courtroom experience, which he records in his notebook in the shape of a movie script. Multiple people are called as witnesses in the court as the court tries to find out who was guilty of killing the man. Eventually, the court reaches a verdict after witnesses such as Steve’s theater teacher and other people involved in the robbery speak: Steve is not guilty, while the person who actually pulled the trigger, James King, is found guilty. Steve tries to hug his lawyer at the end of the trial, but she just walks away. Steve has gone back to film-making five months later, but he and his father have grown distant, while Steve still wonders whether his lawyer saw the real Steve or a “monster.”
I found the book compelling because I wanted to know if Steve was really involved in the robbery and if he was found guilty. The main part of the book that I didn’t like was the format that it was written in; the movie script format was often hard to interpret accurately. I would recommend this book to teens who like a courtroom trial story with some suspense. The cover is Steve’s prison mugshots. I think that it was not that accurate to the actual book contents due to the fact that it is a book about Steve’s trial, not his prison life. I do like it though. I rate the book a 3 out of 5.