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Tyrone's Story: Degrees of Guilt    by Sigmund Brouwer order for
Tyrone's Story
by Sigmund Brouwer
Order:  USA  Can
Tyndale, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Tyrone Larson knows what happened the night Sammy James died, but he's not talking. At the party when Sammy overdosed, he did nothing to help. In fact, Tyrone acknowledges his role in the whole mess and blames himself.

When Tyrone moved to Macon, Iowa, as a high school freshman, he knew immediately that it would be difficult to fit in. Macon is a small town where everyone has known each other since they were born. On his first day of school the jocks singled out Tyrone, a self-proclaimed 'science geek', and another new student for torture. After Sammy mediated a truce between the warring groups, he and Tyrone struck up a friendship.

Magnetic new English teacher, Mitchell Wade, is worshipped by the girls, especially Sammy's twin Kyra James, whom Tyrone has loved from afar since the ninth grade. Mitch takes Tyrone under his wing, and the two have many intellectual conversations. This leads to a job for Tyrone and Hale -- all they have to do is pick up 'vitamin' supplements for Mitch each week. What do the packages really contain? And do they have anything to do with Sammy's death?

This is one entry in the Degrees of Guilt trilogy. All three books tell the story of Sammy James' death from a different person's viewpoint. Then readers are encouraged to check out the website for further information, especially about the trial. None of the books get into exactly who is being tried and the reason for the trial, but the website gives all those details and more.

Tyrone is someone to whom most of us can easily relate. Though he has a lot to offer, it's difficult for the 'new guy' to fit in and make friends. His home situation (his father is in prison) makes Tyrone feel like even more of an outsider. His story shows how easily a lonely teen can be influenced into bad behavior when an adult reaches out with flattery. It includes a subtle faith message, as Tyrone's grandmother, his steady rock, always tries to steer him in the right direction.

There is a great deal of foreshadowing in this account, almost every chapter ending with, 'I didn't know then what I know now.' After a while this started to get annoying and made me want to flip ahead to the big secret. Aside from that, Tyrone's Story involves us in yet another intriguing perspective on Sammy's death - the three Degrees of Guilt books are best read consecutively to give a full picture of the tragic event and its consequences.

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