Books by Jon Ripslinger

Released: April 1, 2003

Danny Henderson faces many obstacles on the road to winning the aloof Angel McPherson, a.k.a. the Stone Angel. First is the rumor that she is a lesbian. Next is a father whose advice to Danny about women is "stay away." Undeterred, Danny asks Angel, whose skill at basketball far exceeds Danny's, to help him with his free throw. Angel's response to Danny seems clearly to indicate that the rumor is false, yet her initial interest turns to rejection as she pushes Danny away and becomes more solitary than ever. As it turns out, she and Danny have more in common than basketball: each harbors a secret so shameful that neither has ever revealed it to another soul. Angel is hiding the fact that her mother is gay and that her father is an anonymous sperm donor. Danny has never revealed to anyone that rather than dying of cancer, his mother perished with her lover in a motorcycle accident. One can't help admiring Danny's commitment to his heart's desire in the face of heavy opposition. Ripslinger, showing potential, perhaps takes on too many issues. Angel's mother's lesbianism receives sensitive treatment, but Danny's mother's infidelity get less attention and feel somehow gratuitous. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
TRIANGLE by Jon Ripslinger
Released: May 1, 1994

The serious ramifications of a pool accident that left one of three longtime friends paralyzed is the theme of Ripslinger's first novel. Darin's confinement to a wheelchair has made him demanding and abusive to girlfriend Joy and best friend Jeremy, who drives him around and keeps him supplied with beer from his mother's tavern. Joy, a star softball pitcher, is seeking a college scholarship but is pressured by guilt to attend Iowa State, where Darin is to begin his freshman year. Jeremy has decided to join the navy, but his secret love for Joy has led to her pregnancy. These and many other complications, including the shocking discovery of his own family history, are narrated in Jeremy's voice, which convincingly conveys the emotional turmoil of a young man with more than he can handle. The story is laced with softball terminology and description, an effective counterpoint to the personal events that drive the plot. Ultimately, Joy and Jeremy reveal their secret to Darin, precipitating his suicide attempt and their decision to stand by him and work out a life together for themselves and their child. Readers will identify with Joy and Jeremy but, surprisingly, not with Darin, who's almost as unlikable as his manipulative mother. The uncertainty of the future they face only adds realism to the characters' experiences; if too much seems to be happening here, it's probably because—for many teenagers—too much is. (Fiction. 12+) Read full book review >