John "Smoke" Conlan is serving time for two murders but he wasn't the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke's new home and the only one he believes he deserves.
But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they're asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn't care that the "threads" that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.
Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink's help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he's willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.
* * * * *
HOLDING SMOKE is definitely a different type of Young Adult book then I have previously been exposed too. It is much darker and grittier. Smoke is current in juvie where you really can't trust anyone as evidenced by the fact that one of the inmates is out to kill him. One of the guards will do everything he can to make life harder on Smoke. And to cap it off, he shouldn't even be there.
I really enjoyed this look at life once you go into the correctional system. It corrected some misconceptions of mine since I always thought that things were easier of you were a minor. And when you add in a touch of the paranormal with Smoke being able to 'travel' and discover the secrets of the others. Well this book is really a keeper.
I do recommend HOLDING SMOKE to my readers. It is in the Young Adult genre but it deals with concepts that will cross the ages. I do want to issue a warning that there is violence in the book as well as an attempted rape.
*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed within are my own.