“Twelve-year-old Ares Ramirez lives in a trailer on the desolate shores of California's Salton Sea, where he tries to take care of his handicapped brother. Silver is a gifted writer whose story of a young man struggling with the burden of responsibility takes us to places both in the landscape and in the heart that enrich us as readers and make us grateful for such storytellers.”
— Marian Nielsen, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA
In a scruffy desert town in 1978, twelve-year-old Ares Ramirez lives in a trailer with his mother and younger brother. In this desolate, forgotten place, government fighter planes and helicopters make training runs by night using live ammunition. When an anonymous dead body floats in from the sea, Ares, on the cusp of his adolescence, is inspired to enact elaborate fantasies of mortal combat. But it is his troubled family that makes Ares a casualty of a different kind of war. His brother, Malcolm, is mentally handicapped, and his mother, distrusting authorities, chooses not to do anything about it, leaving the burden to Ares to protect his vulnerable brother from a world that sees him as "a retard." As he fights to define himself and to see a future for himself outside of the suffocating box of his home, Ares befriends a dangerous older kid, and what was once play becomes terrifyingly real as violence changes his life forever.