Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. – Harriet Tubman
If you decide to read End of the Innocence (Tales of Foster High, Book 2), the continuing story of jock, Brad Greymark, and his invisible boy, Kyle Stilleno, who has arguably become the most visible boy at Foster High School, well, let me keep you from making the same mistakes I made.
1. Don’t try to read this book at the 87% mark onward if you’re expecting to sleep anytime soon.
2. If you do, don’t go to bed without a box of tissues, or at least do it with the expectation that you’re going to über-ugly-cry all over your pillow. Because you will. It’s unavoidable. I very well may start blubbering again just thinking about it.
Charles Darwin must’ve been in high school when he came up with the theory of Natural Selection:
The process in nature by which only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive.
It’s where the term “survival of the fittest” came from. In the high school hierarchy of predators and prey, the bullies and the bullied, sometimes survival is a touch-and-go-day-to-day proposition, where strength and courage are impossible to come by because fear and humiliation and denigration comes along and desecrates and profanes the one place that should be sanctuary from all the other crap you have to face at home. But then the internet came along and gave the bullies a new platform from which to intimidate and shame their victims, and suddenly nowhere was safe. Then the lines started to blur between who are the bullies and who are the bullied, because revenge is so easy a war to wage when you believe you can wage it anonymously and without consequence.
The only problem is that there’s no such thing as consequence-free vengeance, and an eye for an eye eventually ends up leaving someone blind to the potential devastation of his actions.
And that’s where the heartbreak and tears begin.
And that’s where the courage comes from to take a stand, to step out on the ledge without a safety net and find the strength to try and change the world from within, by remembering those who were made sacrifices to others’ prejudice and hatred, by remembering those who were without the hope they needed to survive in spite of how much Kyle wanted and tried to help; now he will take the passion for change and reach for the stars in an effort to make this a better place for everyone.
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
And Kyle and Brad are without a doubt in the upper stratosphere of my all-time favorite characters, simply because John Goode has made them so. He has a great gift for telling a story that is, by all accounts, a means of delivering the sweet promise of a love story designed to make me believe in forever, blended with clever dialogue and sharp prose, added to that a powerful message that shares both tragedy and hope.
I could gush on and on about this book and this series. It is easily one of the most outstanding examples of realistic Young Adult fiction I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Sometimes the message is that real life sucks hard, but then again, sometimes the message is that when enough people care to band together for the sake of change, change is inevitable for the sake of those who care enough to make it happen.
Let me tell you, this book isn’t easy on the heart or the tear ducts, but is so very, very worth the journey if you’re willing to heed the word.