Books by John Halliday

PREDICKTIONS by John Halliday
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

The town of Westlake is dullsville—no malls, movies, or fast food—except when the Pink & White Carnival arrives every August. The most unusual thing that's occurred was when a storm blew out the carnival electricity and Josh Jolly was born in the fortuneteller's tent making national headlines. The fortuneteller, his aunt, predicted he would make Westlake famous. But nothing happens until ten years later when Josh enters fifth grade, his aunt gives him a mystic board, and he's partnered with three other peculiar classmates: bossy Kate, home-schooled Rainy Day (born the same night as Josh), and huge genius Bill. The Ouija board predicts outcomes for the chess and swimming teams but the misspelled answers create funny predicaments, à la Amelia Bedelia. Josh is a junior Barney Fife in a modern-day Mayberry, his name and the title indicate the folksy style. All the incidental details are linked together like the seats on a Ferris wheel, twirling events and people in a funny, breezy story. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2003

Quickly drawn but touching characterizations draw readers into the suspense and increase the emotional impact in this exploration of a teenage serial killer and his victims. Halliday begins with a heart-wrenching portrait of Macy's early life with his uncaring mother, building up immediate sympathy for the child. However, as Macy's life progresses, Halliday presents readers with a young man, constantly deprived of affection, who simply possesses no concept of human emotions beyond his own immediate impulses. Halliday swiftly limns portraits of the girls Macy kidnaps. Uncaught, Macy roams through city and countryside, simply existing until he spies potential victims. Two escape without knowing of their danger until David, a handicapped, intelligent boy in a small town, although scorned by his fellow students, finds the courage to rescue the girl he adores. Because Halliday spends time with the early lives of Macy's victims, readers gain an understanding not only of the seriousness of his crimes, but also of Macy's own emotional void. Getting to know these people from the ground up, accomplished with deft portrayals, lends an immediacy to the suspense and helps young readers understand the human drama underlying capital punishment. When Macy is finally caught and tried, Halliday leaves readers to decide the sentence, a useful device for stimulating discussions among young readers. The combination of sustained suspense for action fans with simple but effective portraits adds up to an impressive performance from this first-time author. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >