Everything about this book is terrific - the characters, villains, plot and subplots! The main character has flaws but can disobey scary bosses and risk his own life to save another; he can hold still for hours while deadly scorpions crawl over his body; he can carry a friend up a mountain. He 's a low key, likable kid who will even lie to his parents about reform school, telling them he's learning to swim and water ski, to save them from worrying.

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