Fourteen-year-old Joey Campbell knows that he is lucky to be one of the survivors of the school fire. But really, how much luck is involved when he is the lone student to stand up during a fire drill? The only one who insists on getting out of the classroom? Joey’s best friend, Maureen, thankfully decides to follow, but the remaining twenty-four people in Room E201 are swallowed in the mysterious blaze that engulfs their school.
Other than Joey's classroom, the rest of the students heed the fire alarm and survive, but grief-stricken parents and classmates have no one to lash out against except Joey and Maureen. Behind a fence that his dad builds for their own safety, Joey deals with rage, sorrow, and helplessness in equal measure. Some solace can be found within the pages of his journal, but ultimately he must face the living in order to accept everyone and everything that is dead and gone.
Susan Shaw is the author of One of the Survivors, Safe, an ALA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and a Carolyn W. Field Honor Book, and The Boy From the Basement, a New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age. She lives in Wayne, PA, and you can visit her online at susanshaw.org.