Reviewed by Katie Hayes for TeensReadToo.com
Eleven-year-old Caley has every reason to keep to himself. After his parents' divorce, he and his two siblings keep moving every couple of months. His father is an unpredictable, emotionally abusive alcoholic. His mother is paralyzed by depression to the point of negligence. He doesn't get along with either of his stepparents. And when he finally makes a friend, it's one whose problems are even worse than his own.
But things are even worse inside his own head, where severe depression has taken hold. Every time his family moves, Caley's mental state deteriorates.
While this book is intense and so heavy in some places that it's hard to read, that only goes to show how effective Jonathon Scott Fuqua is at capturing Caley's depression. He also works a bit of black humor in to keep the story from getting too melodramatic, and he never overstates things.
Also, the language is at times beautiful. Lines such as, "The gray clouds appeared stuck like gray cement on a board," provide some lovely description devoid of cliche, as do observations such as Caley's about his mother: "She'd changed after the divorce. It was like her goodness and affectionateness seemed to be hibernating or were gone."
I would recommend GONE AND BACK AGAIN to mature teenagers who don't mind a book with heavy subject matter.
Cay is such a sad character. He makes you want to hug him and tell him the world will be ok. But then again, nobody can promise that for anybody.