After an accident leaves nine year-old Teagan Serafino with a life-altering brain injury, both her family and the community demand answers. Though he is innocent, lifelong scapegoat Exequiel "Shoe" Guzman, takes blame for Teagan's injury in order to allow his young nephew Mario, who was present at the site, a chance at a better life.
I was in the middle of three other books when Apology came to me, so I needed to set it aside until I was finished with at least one. As the little book sat beside me for a few days, I grew more and more curious until I picked it up...just to read the first page. When I managed to stop myself, I was about halfway through the novel. It is completely engrossing.
"Above was the world that would not believe him. Above was the world that would not think it was possible that he of all people would have shown up to work early."
Jon Pineda develops his characters in snapshots; short, sometimes half-page thoughts or quick childhood flashbacks, while keeping the novel's main timeline in place. Spanning decades in 200 pages while fully realizing a plot is a difficult task, but it serves to show the full connections between Pineda's characters.
And the delicacies of those connections are where Apology shines. By telling the story of the Serafino family while also following Shoe and Mario, the novel allows readers to trace the impact of each decision without ever drawing one character as a villain. With a careful, poetic tone, Jon Pineda has written a story rich with humanity.