Title: Kings of Colorado
Author: David Hilton
Review: First things first…I loved this book! I have worked in treatment centers of the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled and boys who are out of control. I have even spit on my meal to be sure that one of those boys in treatment didn’t steal off my plate(necessary or your food disappears every time you take your eyes off the plate.) This book captured the pain and hurt you see in those kids eyes. Broken homes, drug and/or alcohol abuse, physical/emotional abuse, gang life, the list goes on and on and you can see the need for love and acceptance in each of their faces. This book broke my heart and yet it was life affirming at the same time.
A bit of Stand By Me, a bit of Lord of the Flies, a bit of what every teenager goes through and a bit of life as we all know it. The story comes to life in your head so full of color that it is hard to believe that this is a debut novel for this author. It is beautifully written and so full of life. I can’t wait to see what else David comes out with in the future.
Since this is about teen boys in treatment for crimes, it has language and adult situations you would expect. I loved this book and would give it 5 stars, but that to me means that it is a must read for everyone and this one may not be for everyone. I personally loved this story and I hate to cry, I refuse to watch a movie if someone dies because I hate to cry that much. But I cried and cried, I laughed and my heart shattered during my journey through these pages. What an extraordinary book this one is. Relationships are what we have in this life that are truly ours, embrace those you care about today.
This is a story that means more than just the words on the pages, it gives you things to think about. It makes you thankful for what you have in this life and it affirms what you hold most important. This is a book I will be keeping to read again and for my kids to read.
Publisher: Published January 5th 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Quick Review: 41/2 Stars out of 5. I think it is a 5, but it may not be for everyone.
Why I Read it: I signed up on Goodreads giveaway thinking it looked like something I might enjoy.
Where I Obtained the Book: Won on Goodreads.
Synopsis: A heartfelt portrait of a bygone age.
William Sheppard had never ventured beyond his Chicago neighborhood until, at thirteen, he was sent away to the Swope Ranch Boys’ Reformatory, hundreds of miles from home, for stabbing his abusive father in the chest with a pocketknife. Buried deep in the Colorado mountains, Swope is shrouded in legend and defined by one prevailing rumor: that the boys who go in never come out the same.
Despite the lack of fences or gates, the boundaries are clear: prisoners are days from civilization, there exists only one accessible road—except in the wintertime, when it’s buried under feet upon feet of snow, and anyone attempting escape will be shot down without hesitation in the shadow of the peaks. At 13,000 feet above sea level, the mountains aren’t forgiving, and neither are the guards.
With twenty-four months of hard time ahead of him, Will quickly learns to distinguish his allies from his enemies. He also learns about the high price of a childhood lost. At Swope, herds of mustangs are trucked in to be broken by a select group of inmates. Once the horses are gentled, they are sold to ranchers and landowners across the Southwest. Horses come and go, delinquent boys come and go. The boys break the horses, Swope Reformatory breaks the boys. Throughout this ordeal, Will discovers three others who bring him into their inner circle. They are life preservers in a sea of violence and corruption.
But if the boys are to withstand the ranch, they must first overcome tragedy and death—a feat that could haunt them for years to come.
Author Biography: Born in 1974, David E. Hilton’s family moved to West Texas in an attempt to rid his chronic asthma. He considers growing up in that region to be a constant inspiration for many of his stories. In Alpine, he was a boy scout, backpacked throughout Big Bend National Park, and has even seen a Marfa Ghost Light at close range.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard Payne University in 1998, and began writing short stories soon thereafter, some of which can be found on various online webzines and pod cast sites, such as “The Harrow,” and “Pseudopod.” He was also a contributor to the short horror story collection, “Nights of Blood 2.” David lives outside Austin, and has two sons, Drew and Cameron, and is the Austin American-Statesman bestselling author of Kings of Colorado.