Inexcusable, by Chris Lynch
It isn't very often that I run across a book that is so well written that it makes me forget about the author. In Inexcusable, Keir Sarafian had a perfect voice. Perfect.
He's unreliable at best—closer to deluded, really—but I thought the scariest thing about him was that he would have occasional moments of clarity. For split-seconds, he would drop the illusions and the rationalizations and the technicalities of responsibility that he so totally depended on to keep his ideal vision of himself intact, and he would know. For a brief moment, he would see his actions for what they were. Under his layers and layers and layers of protestations, he knew. And that made everything even worse (and in adding that complexity, Chris Lynch made the book even better).
Chris Lynch made him into a real person. I need to take a moment to express my feelings about Chris Lynch: I LOVE YOU, CHRIS LYNCH. (In a platonic way, don't worry.) You rock. This was a brave book.
I'd rather not give a whole lot away—I suspect that the title and the cover make the theme pretty clear. If that isn't enough, know that Laurie Halse Anderson (author of Speak) wrote the first blurb on the back cover. Still not getting it? Try this bit from the first chapter:
She is wrong. Gigi is wrong about everything, but especially about me. You could ask pretty much anybody and they will tell you. Rock solid, Keir. Kind of guy you want behind you. Keir Sarafian, straight shooter. Loyal, polite. Funny. Good manners. He was brought up right, that boy was, is what you would hear. All the things you would want to hear said about you are the things I have always heard said about me. I am a good guy.
Good guys don't do bad things. Good guys understand that no means no, and so I could not have done this because I understand, and I love Gigi Boudakian.
I've got goosebumps all over again.