Owen has tried it at least three times. The last was when he seriously thought about walking into heavy traffic. But as with his other attempts, it just didn't work. So there was therapy again....but no matter how many times he goes through therapy, he can't shake the feeling of guilt for what he did and reasons why he shouldn't kill himself.
It is accidental when he meets three other teens online who has the same suicidal thoughts. Jin-Ae can't handle the pressure from her parents to be the best while she's hiding her alternative lifestyle from them. Frank comes from a wealthy family, but he can't compete with his perfect brother while he won't confess he has an alcohol problem. And Audrey....well no one can quite figure her out, although she did jump from a window in a tall building after her boyfriend broke up with her. Together, this rag-tag team, dubbed the Suicide Dogs, decide to take one last road-trip to pay their final respects to those they admired and died (ie Kurt Kobain, Ernest Hemingway), achieve some of the things on their top ten list of things they've always wanted to do, and make their way to their own final destination, Death Valley, in order to complete their pact. But what they don't realize is that this trip will alter their course and surprise even the stauchest of them that believe suicide is the perfect way out.
For a first novel, Albert Borris packs a punch. Each character comes to life on the page, allowing the reader to not only look at what they do, but also why they do the things that cause them to think of suicide. All of the teens in this book create their own personas, and one that is easily followed. The topic is a sensitive one, and Borris treats it with respect while crafting parts that are more light-hearted without taking away the seriousness of the teens' decisions. This is a realistic fiction that will be hard to keep on the shelves, and those teens who enjoyed Ellen Hopkins's Impulse will find themselves just as engrossed in this one. Excellent read.