Before I get into this book review, I have to pause for a moment and acknowledge this is Books In the Middle 500th Book Review!!!! I’m super excited we are still going strong after starting in October of 2012. Thanks to all the teachers, librarians and students who have contributed to this blog and for all the readers and viewers out there! Here’s to the next 500!
He killed his father. There is no disputing that as a fact. However, being 14 at the time his lawyer was able to get him tried as a juvenile, even though there were others who wanted him tried as an adult. After all, his father was an upstanding member of the community. Or was he? And just what kind of community was it?
Nate hadn’t always been with his dad. For a time, when he was younger, he and his mother were on the run from his dad. But then his mom got killed in a freak robbery, and he ended up back with his dad, even though he begged the court to not send him back. No one listens to a kid, right? And no other family member stepped forward to take him back. And it isn’t right to keep a son from his dad, right?
Turns out, Nate’s dad was the leader of a white supremacy compound called The Fort in a small town in Kentucky. The people from the town and The Fort revered Nate’s dad and they didn’t take too kindly that he was killed – murdered in their eyes. Even if he was possibly about to kill Nate.
Now Nate is about to be released from the psychiatric facility he’s been in for almost two years, trying to get over his programming from his time at The Fort, and to an uncle he didn’t even know he had. A man Nate decides to call Traitor. After all, where was this guy when he and his mom needed his help the most?
As Nate and his uncle begin to try to settle into life in Alabama, his uncle can’t seem to get over the idea that Nate will turn into his father at any second. And when, ironically enough, the first kid at school to make friends with Nate happens to be black, his uncle is terrified that Nate will harm the boy in some way. After all, how could Nate possibly be friends with someone that The Fort told him was horrible. All the while, Nate himself is terrified that The Fort will find him, and kill him. Because that is what they do to people who betray them.
Devils Within by S. F. Henson is a really interesting and harsh look into the realities of life in America. There are documented hate groups in every state in the country, except for Alaska and Hawaii. Nate takes the reader on a journey that hopefully, not many have personal knowledge of. At times it is brutal and perhaps shocking, but an important book to read to gain knowledge. Also, it is a just a really great read! It was hard to put this book down!
Recommended for mature 8th graders and up because of violent content.