Mann is only 13, yet he has already had to deal with more than most go through in a lifetime. His family is still reeling from the tragic shooting death of his little brother, Jason, each person coping with grief in his or her own way.
Mann's mother has stopped eating and is obsessed with preserving Jason's memory, while his father is certain that presenting a hard edge is the only way to keep his remaining son from becoming a statistic. Mann used to paint and ride horseback, but now he's doing everything he can to escape his emotions: getting involved in fights at school, joyriding at midnight, and much worse.
His father, at his wit's end, does the only thing he thinks will teach his son how to be a man. He abandons him and his friend Kee Lee in the woods, leaving them to navigate their way home, alone.
"This disturbing, thought-provoking novel will leave readers with plenty of food for thought and should fuel lively discussions." (Publishers Weekly) "The complicated relationship between Mann and his father represents a welcome investigation of African American manhood." (Booklist)