The Sin-Eater's Confession

  • Interest Level: Grade 9 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

People in Merit, Wisconsin, always said Jimmy was . . . you know. But people said all sorts of stupid stuff. Nobody really knew anything. Nobody really knew Jimmy.

I guess you could say I knew Jimmy as well as anyone (which was not very well). I knew what scared him. And I knew he had dreams—even if I didn’t understand them. Even if he nearly ruined my life to pursue them.

Jimmy’s dead now, and I definitely know that better than anyone. I know about blood and bone and how bodies decompose. I know about shadows and stones and hatchets. I know what a last cry for help sounds like. I know what blood looks like on my own hands.

What I don’t know is if I can trust my own eyes. I don’t know who threw the stone. Who swung the hatchet? Who are the shadows? What do the living owe the dead?

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 9 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Young Adult
Category Diverse Books: LGBTQIA+, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity
Copyright 2013
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Lab ®
Language English
Number of Pages 296
Publication Date 2014-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 5.5
Text Type Fiction
BISACS YAF031000, YAF029000, YAF058020
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Lexile 730
ATOS Reading Level 5.0
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 156824
Accelerated Reader® Points 12.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews

Author: Ilsa J. Bick

Ilsa J. Bick is a child psychiatrist, as well as a film scholar, surgeon wannabe, former Air Force major, and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, e-books, and novels. She has written extensively in the Star Trek, Battletech, Mechwarrior: Dark Age, and Shadowrun universes. Her original stories have been featured in numerous anthologies, magazines and online venues. Ilsa's YA paranormal, Draw the Dark, was also a semifinalist for the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (as Stalag Winter). Ilsa currently lives with her family and other furry creatures in rural Wisconsin and across the street from the local Hebrew cemetery. One thing she loves about the neighbors: They're very quiet and come around for sugar only once in a blue moon.


  • Westchester Fiction Award, Winner, 2014
  • Wisconsin Library Association's Outstanding Book by a Wisconsin Author, Winner, 2014
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, Winner, 2014
  • Tayshas Reading List, Winner, 2013
  • Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year, Winner, 2013
  • Cream of the Crop for Children's and Young Adult Literature, Winner, 2013
  • Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children, Winner, 2013


Library Media Connection

“Bick has fashioned a disturbing novel that explores issues of personal identity, orientation, community values, and responsibility….This is a difficult book to read, both because of its unsettling content and because of its intense introspection; however, for the right reader the novel offers an engrossingly realistic entry into a young man’s coming of age.” —Library Media Connection


“Bick proves again she is a writer to her core, never at a loss for things to say and uninterested in easy answers. Her handling of Ben’s increasing paranoia and delusion is nimble, making this a violent, and very smart, take-no-prisoners experience.” —Booklist